“If ‘the joy of the Lord is your presence,’ then please inform your face!” Ellie Lofaro’s words resonated deeply with me as I listened to her keynote speech at the 2013 Christian Leadership Alliance conference. It raised a question for all of us: Do we lead with joy? Leadership is hard work. Long hours, disappointing results, difficult decisions, and unseen obstacles are simply part of the journey for a leader. Leadership is also important work. Whether we’re in a business or ministry setting, we have an opportunity to partner with God to make a profound difference in the lives of others. Patrick Lencioni says it this way: “I have come to the realization that all managers can – and really should – view their work as a ministry. A service to others.” This is a calling that we should take seriously.
That leads back to my question about leading with joy. Does the seriousness of your calling keep us from smiling? Is there joy in your leadership that starts in your soul and overflows to the people that you are leading? Or do you somehow believe that this particular fruit of the Spirit does not apply to leaders?
When I think back to different leadership roles that I had in business and in ministry, I wish that I had led with more joy. What would that have looked like? I might have been less upset when things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I might have slowed down a little, focusing more on people and less on tasks. I would have paid as much attention to team chemistry as team results. And it certainly would have been more evident in my face.
So what about you: Do you need to lead with more joy?