This is a post by Tim Parson. Currently the Executive Pastor at First Assembly Community Ministries in Lafayette, IN, Tim is also a gifted teacher, speaker, and consultant. In addition to working in the church, Tim has also held positions in Higher Education, Hospitality, and Retail. He is married to the love of his life; Consuela and they have 3 children. Check out his blog: www.timparsons.me or connect with him on Twitter.
When I was young and just starting out on my journey of leadership, I was a sponge – soaking up all of the knowledge I could in order to succeed in my career. One of my earliest memories of this is when I was in the hotel business. I lived in Ohio and was working my way through a management-training program as the inaugural student. I would spend lots of time with both the general manager of the hotel as well as the president of the company.
I would pick up on nuances and habits in the way that they led and then immediately adopt them to my own leadership. Both men were rough and direct. Both men were more focused on the bottom line then they were on the relationships they had with those around them. Both men were old school in their leadership and had a top-down mentality. These were the lessons I learned and the behaviors I put into action in my own leadership.
At the time, I was not attending church. I had no active faith to speak of. I still believed in God, but I was not acting out my Christian walk in any way. Because of this, my leadership suffered. Because my only influence was these 2 leaders, I had no spiritual compass to guide me and I found myself failing as a leader much more than I was succeeding. But, once I returned to church…and my faith, I found that it impacted my leadership in ways that I would have never thought on my own. Here are three ways that my faith impacts my leadership:
Faith impacts my relationships. The example that I followed was that bottom line trumps people – every time. Of course, my faith tells me differently. I no longer have the stance that one’s home life should not come into the workplace. I now make it a priority to get to know those that I lead and care for/about them on a regular basis. I’ve also found that, by doing this, the bottom line will take care of itself.
Faith impacts my attitude. I was taught early on that top-down is the way an organization should be and I should position myself at the peak of the pyramid. As you may know, Jesus turned this all upside-down. When I approach my leadership with a servant mentality, my attitude changes from all about me to all about the greater good. And, that’s an awesome place to be. I once heard that my job as a leader is to remove obstacles for those that I lead – and that’s servant leadership at its best!
Faith impacts my decisions. I lived by the adage that “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” And, although there is some truth to this statement, with my faith, I am not alone on this journey. When I allow God to be my Counselor, my Mentor, and my Guide – I can receive direction on the decisions I must make from someone with a higher perspective. Also, the Bible gives me some clear guidance about making decisions too.
Question: How does faith impact your leadership?