Leadership requires mastery of both faith and facts
Some people master facts. If the facts they master pertain to the elasticity of polymers or the electrical resistance characteristics of semiconductors, those people tend to do well working as engineers. If the facts they master are legal precedents, they tend to succeed working for a law firm or for a law school. Other people who master the area of faith might find their niche as theologians.
Those destined to succeed in leadership when the circumstance presents itself are those who have mastered both faith and facts. The latter is the easier to dispense with.
Clearly my confidence in my leader will be badly shaken if I find out that he or she is unaware of important and germane facts. This does not mean that my sergeant or my president must necessarily be an encyclopedia of facts. It does mean that the leader should be drawing on those who are in possession of the needed facts.
He or she cannot risk appearing indifferent to facts relevant to the operation. For example, if an invasion is planned, I expect to be reassured by the leader’s focus on intelligence. I want to see the leader assigning someone the job of finding out exactly what defensive capacity will be confronted.
Similarity, if a new marketing campaign is being launched, I will more eagerly throw my efforts into the task if I know that the leader is aware of the competition.
It is clear that your efforts to become a leader will be thwarted if you cannot master the relevant facts. Mastery of facts is an indispensable accompaniment to leadership, but it is only half the story. If facts are all you master, then you will always be valuable to the leaders, but you are not destined to become a leader yourself.
The other necessary element is that of faith. Does this mean only religious people can become leaders? No, of course not. When I use the word Faith with a capital “F,” I mean a specific kind of faith, faith in Almighty God. However, when I use the word faith, I mean the ability to work as comfortably with something yet invisible as if it were already a present reality.
Whether you are leading yourself or are already leading others, you are distinguished by something very important. You alone see the desired outcome in front of your very eyes, as plainly as if it were already a reality.
These five obligations rest on business leaders, too. As a leader:
- You must induct your employees into the culture of your organization. Without undergoing that acculturating experience, employees will never participate fully as members of a team. Without it, they will also fail to develop internal guidelines that will allow them to use their initiative in the absence of specific direction.
- You must also be crystal clear on exactly what you expect from those who look to you for leadership.
- You must also regard it as part of your mandate to ensure that no employee languished in loneliness.
- You must provide skill training that will allow each employee to contribute to the bottom line.
- And finally, you must equip all your employees with the ability to remain afloat in turbulent waters.