Would you like to know the quickest way to laser-focus your organization and inspire your employees around your mission? Here’s a hint: It’s not a new strategy, productivity tactic or even an HR initiative. It has more to do with the heart of your leadership.
In the next three minutes, we’ll share the answer that can benefit your ministry, church or Christian-owned company for years to come.
A Given Fact
Our research of more than 100,000 Christian workers surveyed in the past six years confirms that every healthy, flourishing workplace culture is driven by these eight essentials:
- Fantastic Teams
- Life-giving Work
- Outstanding Talent
- Uplifting Growth
- Rewarding Compensation
- Inspirational Leadership
- Sustainable Strategy
- Healthy Communication
While all of these factors are important – and must be cultivated in a healthy workplace – which of these factors is the most influential of all? Our research indicates Inspirational Leadership is the most highly correlated factor with cultural health.
Every healthy Christian organization is grounded in, and founded on, Inspirational Leadership. We define Inspirational Leadership as:
A person or team known for breathing in the divine (God) with position, power and ability to lead or influence an organization or group.
The essence of Inspirational Leadership that was true for Moses, the Apostle Paul and Jesus himself is active, real and alive in today’s inspirational Christian leaders.
A 3-Fold Truth
Inspirational Leadership is comprised of three characteristics:
Let’s see how these three characteristics are so paramount to a healthy, flourishing culture – and an effective organization.
- Christian Character reveals an inspirational leader’s Christ-like behavior. In the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey we ask, “Do leaders in my organization demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit?” (see Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit transforms the natural, self-centered “acts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) into the fruit of the Spirit in the human heart. The fruit of the Spirit is the outward indicator of a leader’s inward spiritual health, or character.I think of inspirational leaders like Doug Nuenke, president of The Navigators. Their leadership team not only begins and ends their meetings in prayer, but they will often stop the meeting and pray over a topic to seek God. It’s one of many faithful ways they live and breathe Christ-like character.
- Personal Integrity anchors inspirational leadership in fairness, trust and honesty. Christian integrity is rooted in, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)As president of Whitworth University, Bill Robinson continually made “trust deposits” of integrity. One year, he and his cabinet intentionally chose to distribute a budget surplus in the form of a personal bonus to each employee. To make sure he remained accountable and to help preserve his personal integrity, Bill gave his IT staff access to his personal online activity while he traveled, so that he would not compromise his behavior.
- Operational Excellence reveals Inspirational Leadership through an organization that is well-managed, changing for the better and creating job stability for performing employees.I think of leaders like Doug Mazza, President, and Billy Burnett, CFO of Joni and Friends, who are known for effectively executing on ministry plans in an effective and efficient way that builds relationships.
A Current Result
Is it possible that these three characteristics of Inspirational Leadership are already at work in your organization? Spend some time reflecting on these questions.
- Are your organization’s leaders deeply faithful, personally reflecting the characteristics of Christ? Are you self-aware, emotionally healthy, servant leaders who seek feedback? Do you encourage your teams to personally grow in their relationship with Christ?
- Are your values clearly articulated and regularly communicated, not just words on the wall? As a result, your people are encouraged and receive feedback from their peers about how they are living out their values such as integrity and trust.
- Is operational excellence and process improvement evident and honored in your everyday work? As a result, competence is valued and developed so that the organization runs smoothly and relationships are strengthened, not damaged in the process.
- Do your leaders see their role as shepherds of God’s flock that is under their care, starting with their staff?
People who see such glimpses of Inspirational Leadership in your culture want be part of the work, because they see love and truth alive in a culture that reflects Christ to the world.
May the same be true for you and your colleagues wherever you notice, affirm, and celebrate Inspirational Leadership at work.