How My Faith Has Shaped My Leadership

700 466 David DeWolf

I’m not one to stand on a soapbox. I’m passionate about my Catholic faith, but I don’t feel a need to confront others with it. St. Francis is often quoted as saying, “Preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words.”

I try to live my life in a way that is consistent with my beliefs and allow my actions to speak for who I am. I’m not out to convert anyone. I’m out to live in a way that is consistent with what I believe.

This consistency of character is integrity. Do what you say and say what you do.

Regardless, there are several ways in which my Catholic faith has shaped the way I live, but two in particular stick out to me as having shaped who I am as a leader.

  1. I believe strongly in the dignity of every person, and this greatly impacts my management and leadership styles.
  2. I believe that my leadership position has been given to me for a purpose, and I treat it as a great responsibility, not a right or privilege.

These two principles have helped to mold my leadership style.

I respect and desire the input of those who surround me.

I am convinced that two heads are better than one. That together a team can make a better and more informed decision than any single person.

I have no problem making decisions, but I’d prefer to reach a consensus. Because of my personality, I am continually collecting data points, connecting dots, and processing their meaning, but I am intentional about collecting data points from other people. I ask a lot of questions. I facilitate a lot of discussions. And then we act.

Of course, in times of crisis or dramatic change, a stronger leadership style is required. I’ll make the tough decision and act quickly when required, but have found that, more often than not, crafting a decision that includes input from the team is much more powerful.

I am purpose-driven.

I believe that all people, not just myself, want to be part of something greater than themselves. I believe that having a clear purpose, a reason why, is central to leading and inspiring others. The team needs to believe in something greater than themselves.

As a leader, I find it it is important to help find that purpose. A purpose everyone can believe in. It must be kept front and center.

My faith is a part of who I am, and yes, it bleeds over into how I live and how I lead. A leader who claims his faith (or lack thereof) does not impact how he or she leads is fooling themselves – and fooling you. It’s impossible for something you truly believe to not permeate your entire life.