As a leader, I am profoundly shaped by my Christian faith and the values that have been passed on to me from my grandfather and father. From them, I learned:
Integrity: Do what I say
Excellence: Do my best
Improvement: Get better over time
Both my father and grandfather were public servants with the Corpus Christi Army Depot. They also modeled the importance of balancing work, family, and church responsibilities.
My personal mission is to “Be a Leader wherever I am, and improve leadership wherever I go”. For me, “where I am” is at work, at home, at church, and in my community.
Daily, I strive to grow in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is shaping me to be a better man, husband, father, and leader. I seek to follow His example of servant leadership…
Every day, I start my day with two different daily devotionals:
- John Maxwell’s Leadership Promises
- Ken Blanchard’s “Lead Like Jesus Inspired Devotional”
Both of these resources use Biblical scripture and provide practical ideas and suggestions about how to apply that scripture as a leader…which goes hand-in-hand with George Washington’s quote above. With daily guidance through prayer and time in the Bible, I find that I’m more effective as a leader, focused on serving people around me.
Some—who may not fully understand Christian leadership or whose views are shaped by limited or bad experience—may have difficulty understanding how a Christian leader can create an inclusive team and work environment. I see how Jesus Christ interacted with people from different backgrounds and different cultures, always treating people with dignity and respect—I seek to do the same. Fortunately, I have seen Christian leadership modeled effectively by many leaders over the years, who have built strong teams and an inclusive work environment.
Others argue that there needs to be a separation of church and state. I appreciate the perspective provided by former U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson, who said, “The so-called ‘separation of church and state’ is not a license to ignore religion, but a testimony to its importance in our lives. Freedom of religion ought never be confused with freedom from religion.” With that said, I do not seek to impose my beliefs on others in the workplace, as I agree that we need freedom of religion, which allows a variety of expression.
So, what is my leadership style? A few years ago, I received some coaching advice to “be loud” in order to get heard. Fortunately at that time, I picked up a copy of Tony Dungy’s book Quiet Strength. In this book, Dungy (a Super Bowl Champion football coach) described his quiet leadership style and noted that he never raised his voice with his team—a very unusual style indeed in the National Football League. I was inspired and pushed back on the advice I received…and I instead play to my strengths.
Recently, as I was leaving my Human Resources Office for a short developmental rotation assignment to our engineering organization, one of our team members wrote, “We will miss your quiet strength.” That was validating!
In addition to describing his unique leadership style, Dungy points out very clearly that his purpose in life is to glorify God. I couldn’t agree more!
A few years ago, my 15-year mentor and friend Bill Bates gave me a framed (in calligraphy by his own hand) version of Former Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson’s famous benediction. I keep this in my office, where I can look at it often. I encourage other Christian leaders to heed these words as well: