Several months ago, a group of friends and I were having a discussion about various things, when someone asked a question (I'm paraphrasing here) about how to be in leadership and convey personal ideas or beliefs that their company may not be totally down with. I'm afraid none of us were much help. (My brilliant answer was to wait a long time and then revisit the idea. Granted, I was pretty in the dark about what they were talking about at the time, but still. Dumb answer.) Other responses alluded something to the effect of essentially tricking the receipts into believing the ideas. Think, boiling a frog... Knowing the hearts of my friends, I know that they weren't intending to sound manipulative, but it took me aback. I realized A) I never wanted to work under someone who operated under that mindset B) If I'm choosing to be honest, I'm sure I've probably been a bit of a con in the past - with good intentions - but still... C) I don't want to operate like that in the future. I never want to feel like I'm con-ing or manipulating anyone into believing something. Beliefs can't be forced. Just like you can't make somebody love you. They have to come to that decision on their own. I'm reading several books right now that helped me reinterate this truth - unChristian by David Kinnaman (president of the Barna research group) & Gabe Lyons and Signs of Emergence by Kester Brewin. Similar concepts that end up taking different paths.
But one thing remains true - if you want somebody to respect you and your beliefs, you've got to just be yourself. ESPECIALLY when it comes to Jesus. I think almost everyone (Christians included) is on high alert when it comes to sincerity. 'Believers' are awesome when it comes to being angry, political, judgemental, loud, brash, ignorant and pushing our agendas. We are not so well known for just letting things "breathe". To allow people to come to their own conclusions as well as allowing them the space to question certain beliefs without practically excommunicating them. When will we learn that good leaders (no matter what the business) lead by example and not by shoving things down people's throats?