Are You a Leader or Are You One Who Leads?

Simon Sinek, in his book on leadership Start with Why, wrote the following:

There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.

If leadership is influence, what kind of influence are you using to lead?

John Maxwell made the saying, “leadership is influence,” famous as trainer and coach of leaders worldwide. But when we talk about leadership as influence precisely what do we mean?

One definition of influence is, “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.

Influence can be derived from one of two places. The one is the use of power and authority that comes with leadership to impel the behavior and opinions you want. This kind of leadership is using position and power to manipulate the outcome you desire.

Your Focus Determines Your Direction!

As a leader, are you aware that your style of leadership and the direction in which you lead is a direct reflection of where you are centered or focused?

Usually a leader is centered on one of three areas:

  • Self
  • Activity
  • God

Each of those shapes your leadership style, influence, accomplishments and legacy. Here’s how:

Influencing Those You Lead

One thing is certain of every leader, you are always influencing those you lead. In other words, you have no control over who you influence, but you can certainly determine what your influence will be. It could either be negative, demeaning, controlling, and abusive or it can be positive, uplifting, respectful and valuing.

Let us look at some key factors that are necessary to have the kind of influence that will motivate your followers to do their best work.

Good Listening is Essential to Healthy Relationships

The Carrims believe that good listening will be essential in building the relationships needed to help the Nazarene Theological College South Africa thrive. They were assigned to lead the college Jan. 1 and will move there in April.

A few days ago, we arrived in South Africa to spend two weeks getting to know a bit about the people we will soon be living and working with. We recognize that the most essential communication skill, and one we will have to use extensively, is the skill of good listening. Listening is indispensable to good leadership. People who are genuinely listened to will feel valued, respected, and heard. And nearly always, people will trust you when they know you are truly listening to them.

Conducting an Effective Off-Site Meeting

A popular trend with churches is to conduct off-site meetings with their staff. This is usually a time when the staff gathers somewhere away from the physical location of where they work to focus on long-term planning, review how current plans are going, and give attention to mission, vision, strategy and team building.

The question is, how effective are these off-site meetings? Does the team come away motivated, challenged, and clear on what they are doing, why they are doing it and who is doing what? If at the end of the time away all that happened was meeting after meeting with some socializing in between, then the off-site was not a success.

Are You Paying Attention to the Warning Signs?

Warning signs are everywhere: on medication bottles, road signs, plastic wrapping and cartons. We find them on electrical appliances, and coffee cups from convenience stores and fast food joints. Warning signs are all around, and if we ignore them the consequences can be great. We may recover from some consequences; but others allow no recovery.

For example, if you ignore the warning sign of the stop light and go when it is not your turn, you may end up in a simple fender bender with repairs easily made. Or, you might end up with serious bodily injuries from which you never fully recover. Worse yet, life may be lost by ignoring the stop light.

The sad reality is that many of us ignore warning signs until it’s too late. This does not have to be the case. We can pay better attention.

The defining difference – Jesus’ mandate

In the world of organizational performance in which organizations measure themselves by results, the Church stands apart in a significant way from all other groups. At the same time, the Church continues to incorporate organizational skills used by secular organizations, many of which have been helpful in assisting the Church to do great things in spreading the good news of the Gospel.

Many larger churches have taken on the management structure of corporations with the lead pastor and numerous supporting staff mirroring corporate CEOs and managers or vice presidents. Organizational structures which help churches operate effectively reflect good stewardship of resources.

Escape the comparison trap

How many times have you said, “I wish I was as talented as, or as good with something as so and so”? We have all said it at one time or another. It is part of the human challenge of always comparing ourselves with others.

We compare ourselves to our parents, our siblings, friends, co-workers, teammates, spouse, classmates, etc. We go through life comparing ourselves. We compare for dozens of reasons such as, wealth, health, job, appearance, race, religion and gender to name only a few.

Are your relationships overdrawn?

In any area of leadership, your most important asset is the people you lead. The worth of this asset increases or decreases, depending on how you treat them.

In the relationship between leader and follower, the banking principle of deposit and withdrawal is constantly at work. When something positive is said or given to a follower, a deposit is made. When something difficult has to be said, such as talking to someone about poor job performance or consistent tardiness, a withdrawal is made. Things can go very wrong if the withdrawal turns out to be larger than previous deposits.