The Nashville Institute for Faith and Work is excited to welcome Pastor and Author Scott Sauls for our April Lunch & Learn on the topic of “From Weakness to Strength: How Vulnerability Can Enhance Your Leadership” on April 18 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Read Scott’s thoughts below in anticipation for his in April.
Q: What inspired you to study the ways weakness can enhance a person’s leadership?
A: Two reasons, chiefly. The first was that in the course of eighteen months, five of my friends lost their positions of leadership due to a moral failure. The second was an awareness that, given the right set of circumstances, I might be equally as vulnerable to a collapse in character. You might say that I wrote the book chiefly for my own protection and that those who have read the book are eavesdroppers on my own internal monologue -- on the "sermons to a leader" that I regularly preach to myself.
Q: Why do you believe traits like weakness and humility can be so transformative and foundational to a healthy leader?
A: The first reason is theological. When we find Jesus repeatedly saying things like, "The meek will inherit the earth" and "The first will be last and the last will be first," we are wise to tune in to discern what such declarations mean for us. The second reason is practical and intuitive. We are all drawn to follow those who lead from a place of humility and other-centeredness. Conversely, we generally struggle to trust leaders who do not assume these qualities.
Q: What does it look like, from your perspective, for leaders to practically gravitate towards weakness in their endeavors?
A: Henri Nouwen put it best, I think. Nouwen, whose career included teaching posts at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard, as well as a prolific speaking itinerary, spoke of a type of "downward mobility" that is far superior to our infatuation with upward mobility. Jim Collins called it the "Level Five" leader. It's the leader who is more interested in the flourishing of others and the organization than s/he is in hearing the sound of her/his own name.
Scott Sauls is husband to Patti, dad to Abby and Ellie, and serves as senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to Nashville, Scott was a Lead and Preaching Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City after planting two churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis. Scott has authored three books, most recently a book on the character of a leader called From Weakness to Strength, and blogs regularly at scottsauls.com. His work has also been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Qideas, Catalyst, Leadership Magazine, aholyexperience, OnFaith, The Gospel Coalition, and Key Life. Scott can be found on Twitter at @scottsauls.