On Leadership, The Inner Life, and Beards – A #TrusteeTuesday reflection
By Charles “Chaz” Howard (MDiv ’03)
I remember one particular meeting on the college campus where I serve as University Chaplain. While I don’t usually, on this occasion I was wearing my clerical collar. I took my seat behind a nameplate that displayed my full name and letters after it, which spoke to the academic degrees that I have acquired. Along with my collar and degrees (which I was unintentionally peacocking) my beard was in full Gandalf-mode.
Later in the meeting, one of the attendees said and I quote, “Rev. Dr. Howard, with your beard over there, I’m sure you have some wisdom to bestow on the matter.” I replied with a truth that I once heard, “If beards were a sign of wisdom, then more people would seek the advice of Billy Goats.”
And yet, we do often seek the advice of people for surface level reasons. Not to belittle the importance of ordination or titles (or beards), but these things do not in themselves bring wisdom or indeed strong effective leadership.
No, I’ve found that the most effective leaders whom I’ve had the honor of knowing have a glow from within. Something that has been both given to them from Above and cultivated over time.
This is easier said than done. The test comes in the staff or committee meetings you’ll have, or the difficult congregational conversations you’ll be asked to lead, or in divisive community matters, or in painful family moments. From where will you lead? Will you pull rank and lead from your title? Or will you use the forcefulness of your personality to get your way? Will you remind people of your education? Will you give a not-so-subtle tug at your beard?
Or will you seek the guidance of The Spirit? Will you take the time to be still and wait – to be still and know?
Leading from within in the future, starts by cultivating that which is within now. If you want that fresh Dumbledore look in the future, you need to start growing it out now. If you want that Spirit-led sensitivity during your ministry, then seek to work towards that now, as well.
The world awaits you and all that God will do through you.
For an explanation of this weekly series, see the announcement on our news feed.
To learn more about our trustees, visit the Trustee page on this site, where you will also find a full bio for Chaz Howard.