LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood shared his secret to effective leadership with members of Louisville’s business community on Tuesday, July 1, pointing them to principles modeled by Jesus.
“Most of what I’ve learned about leadership came not from reading leadership books but following the greatest leader the world has ever known, and his name is Jesus,” Chitwood said at a luncheon held in the 750,000-member organization’s Louisville headquarters.
Chitwood, a longtime pastor and former professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, has headed the Kentucky Baptist Convention for the past three years, seeing the state’s largest religious group through a major reorganization. He has earned plaudits for his leadership, and was most recently featured in Southern
Seminary Magazine for his efforts to revitalize Kentucky churches.
In his message to Louisville business leaders, Chitwood encouraged them to pay particular attention to their hiring practices if they hope to build effective workforces to enable their organizations to succeed.
Chitwood said they should always “shoot for the moon” in considering potential hires.
“The average person is looking for a job,” Chitwood said. “The above average person is looking for a pathway to advance their career and to use their skills. The best of the best are looking for a mission. They want to be a part of something that matters.”
To recruit the best, business leaders have to be able to compellingly articulate the mission of an organization in a way that shows potential hires that it’s worthy place to invest their lives.
“Until you can communicate your mission, don’t expect to draw the first-round draft picks,” Chitwood said. “They’re looking for a mission, not just a place to go to work.”
Chitwood said effective leaders create a system of accountability that draws clear lines between appropriate and inappropriate actions and behavior so that staffers “know that if you cross the double-yellow line, you’re going to crash.”
Effective leaders impress upon every member of their teams the need to be trustworthy.
“Trust is built over time, but it’s lost in an instant,” Chitwood warned. “So guard that trust.”
Chitwood said Jesus modeled the importance of selecting a strong team when he prayed all night before he began calling his disciples.
“He chose those people carefully and intentionally,” Chitwood said. “He built trust. He served his team. He gave them access to himself. He held them accountable. He invited them to join an exciting mission. In fact, I would dare say it was the most exciting and rewarding mission the world has ever known. It was the mission of sharing the good news that the Savior had come.”
And, Chitwood reminded, believing in and following Jesus has benefits far beyond success in the business world.
“He changed not just my life but my eternal destiny,” Chitwood said.