The last element of character is the most important. To be Reverent seems a little out of step with today’s attitudes. It is not considered “character” and is not taught in school or in most organisations. It is not politically correct to stress reverence of any deity or belief system in respect for those who have no belief in a deity. Does this sound like a sermon? Maybe. Those that profess a belief in a deity confess that human beings are not the be-all and end-all of living creatures; they know that there is a power beyond imagination that monitors and takes account of our behavior and measures it against an ideal. There is a need for each of these believers to live up to these ideals, realizing that one never becomes successful in this pursuit because human beings are flawed. They are not trustworthy, loyal, friendly, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean by their on strength of will. They fall off track, tell little white lies, betray those they vow to uphold, they hold grudges, and can be rude, mean, and contrary. They will look out for #1, find that grumpiness gets them further in their own pursuits, spend too much money, time and effort in the wrong places, and may take a coward’s path. They are not clean in their thoughts or their mannerisms, and may actually hide the dishes in the oven. And yet…
They hold a profound reverence for a supreme being, for all life, and for the marvels they experience every day. And so, each day, they bow in respect, they pray for guidance and perspective, they study the words of wisdom in hopes of coming closer to meeting this ideal. Those without a belief in a deity hold reverence for the world of life around them, their own lives and the lives of humans they deem close and important to them. It seems to me that these people without a belief in a deity have a shallow reverence. It would appear futile to revere something as flawed as the human race. The believers revere humans as they were “created” to be–ideal, perfect. But they don’t stop there, they revere a creator/protector/savior/wise teacher/father(mother) figure. The unbelievers revere humanity as they are–less than ideal. That’s where it ends. How does reverence relate to leadership? Every true leader realizes at one point or another that he is accountable to the people he leads and the deity or belief system he follows. One without reverence for life or for the lives of the people she leads rarely sees a bigger picture.
Reverence (/ˈrɛvərəns/) is “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.” This deep respect can be shattered if the subject is flawed. How did people react when the president was accused of sexual misconduct? Betrayed? Did this president lose respect from his constituents? How do spouses react when they discover they’ve been lied to by the person with whom they vowed to spend the rest of their lives? These flaws can be gradually forgiven and accepted, but never forgotten. So if the epitome of reverence is only human kind, don’t we set ourselves up for failure? In case I didn’t make my case clear, I believe in God. I believe you can be a leader without being a believer in God, but it is harder.
If you have a belief in a supreme being or a code of ethics that keeps you on the path that benefits the people you lead, and the consequences enhance humanity, be faithful to it. Study its precepts, contemplate its truths, discuss the ramifications of the actions you take or refrain from taking. You must have an active belief system or it dies. Let me reference history. When the Hebrew people’s king was devoted to Yaweh, his focus was not on himself and the riches he could amass, or the lands he could conquer or the trade he could control. But as a result of his focus, he did amass riches and lands and trade. When the king focused on his own gain, when he showed no reverence to Yaweh, his country was trampled and depleted and her people carried off into slavery. The most important thing to remember as a leader is this: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about the journey, the goal, the destination, and it cannot be superficial. You must be reverent to your beliefs, and respectful of your team and respectful of your opposition. Without this vital aspect of leadership, you will not be able to sustain your team for the long haul.
Study: Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, Joshua, Judges. Fall of the Roman Empire. Alexander the Great, Richard III.