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Congruence

By February 27, 2019Church, Leadership

As a student of leadership, I’m particularly interested in the qualities of good leadership. What are the values, characteristics, and habits that set apart the good leaders from the mediocre and unhealthy ones? Most of us could quickly generate a list like this one:

  • Integrity
  • Honest
  • Disciplined
  • Charismatic
  • Good communicator
  • Visionary
  • Hardworking
  • Humble
  • Service-minded

In both the business world and church literature, certain characteristics would overlap. Whether it’s called Level Five leadership, servant leadership, or some other name … you’ll find many of the same characteristics of good leadership in each of them.

But I’ve been thinking about one characteristic that I believe needs more attention. In fact, it may be the underlying factor that enables the other characteristics to function at their prime.

It’s congruence.

Congruence happens when the various aspects of your life — your beliefs and behavior – are in agreement. The root of the word traces its origins back to Latin, where the meaning included being in harmony. Even someone as untrained musically as myself knows when a singer is in harmony … and when there is disharmony!

Leaders who operate with congruency have their beliefs and behavior in sync. Certain actions are simply automatic because they are based on beliefs that are non-negotiable. In that sense, congruency speeds up decision making.

Congruency is also a key ingredient in authenticity. It’s why we are skeptical when we hear a politician make a promise they have no intention of keeping. There is something hollow about their words — even when they are saying the right thing. It’s congruency that brings depth and believability to our communications and interactions.

In our culture, it’s very easy to create a preferred image on social media and not live that image in the everyday moments of life. With a few clicks, we project onto a news feed or stream the person we want to be (or believe others want us to be). But it’s not who we really are.

It’s not congruent with the practices and decisions that happen offline.

For Christian leaders, Jesus spoke clearly about being congruent. It’s letting your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37).  Taking it a step further, Jesus describes being incongruent as originating “from the evil one.” Which fits with another way Jesus described the devil — as the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

Congruency may be the most important virtue in a day when many people are skeptical of authority, leaders, and Christians in general.

It may be time to give congruency its rightful attention.

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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