Being a leader is no easy task. I’m learning more and more about it this past year and a half as I was placed in a leadership role at work.
Prior to this promotion, the only time I considered myself a leader was when I worked in youth ministry. And lets be honest, when you’re twenty-something, have your own car, and a “cool” job, it’s not that hard to lead a gang of youth — they pretty much think you’re awesome.
Transitioning to leading adults, however, was quite a challenge for me (and continues to be). I never studied leadership or read books about it so when I took on this new role at work, I felt quite behind (and still do).
My biggest advantage so far is being able to look back to just a couple years ago when I was someone in need of leader. Remembering what it’s like to be led has been the most helpful thing.
What did I need?
How did I feel?
What did I wish my bosses did for me?
What did my bosses do that I was thankful for?
What did I see them model on a daily basis?
I’ve learned that as a leader, you must be a person worth following.
This has challenged me more than ever on many, many levels.
I don’t ever want my team to feel unappreciated or unseen. I also don’t want them to ever feel like they are working harder than I am. I want them to know that I have their backs and that they can come to me with the good, the bad, the hard stuff, and the fun stuff.
I want to be trusted.
I read this article in Relevant Magazine‘s April/May 2015 issue called “The Currency of Influence.” I was challenged greatly by it and want to share some bits with you, my fellow influencers and leaders.
Lets go a bit deeper to see how we can become someone who is worth following.
In the article, Micah Yost writes, “Influence has little to do with others and everything to do with ourselves.”
Now that will make you pause and reflect for a minute.
He goes on to say, “Leadership is granted to those worth following. Through actions, attitude, values, and work ethic, people earn the right to persuade others.”
If you’re a Christian, you are called to influence. Period.
I want to pause and invite into the conversation, those who may be thinking, “I’m not a leader or an influencer.”
I want to talk to the person who doesn’t think they’re worth following and who thinks they weren’t made to lead.
The truth of the matter is, if you are a Christian, you’re called to influence. Period.
I wrote this post on a Saturday night. I went to church the next day and the sermon was right in line with this post so I’m going to add a few Sunday bits in here then wrap up with the 4 Key Disciplines of Influencers.
Matthew 5:13-16 is a very familiar passage in which Jesus tells His disciples (and us) that they (we) are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Salt is an enhancer.
Salt changes and adds to the flavoring of food.
Being the salt of the earth means that we are the influencers of the earth.
Light exposes what’s dark.
Being the light of the world means illuminating what’s hidden and revealing truth.
Light can also guide and protect from unseen danger that’s chilling in the darkness.
Since we are to be salt of the earth and light of the world, how the world or a society functions is based on what Christians do and do not do.
Christians have a duty and the world is influenced if we do, influenced if we don’t do
So not only does our decision to be light and salt influence culture and the world, but our decision to not be light and salt also influences culture and the world.
Christians have a duty and the world is influenced if we do, influenced if we don’t do.
What level of impact do we desire to have in the influence of the world?
Now that we’ve clarified that every Christian is an influencer, I think we’re ready to move on to the disciplines of influencers.
According to Yost, there are 4 Key Disciplines of Influencers:
- Track Record of Success
- Identifying and Communicating Values
- Vision – creating a picture of the future that inspires
1. A Track Record of Success – Peep the whole Bible
2. Trustworthiness – 1 Timothy 4:9-10, Revelation 21:5, Psalm 22:4-5, Psalm 125:1 (and this could go on and on and on and…)
3. Identifying & Communicating Values – Peep every time Jesus spoke in the gospels
4. Vision – Peep John 14:2-3 and the entire book of Revelation
What great confidence we can have in this!
That God—the one who created us in HIS OWN image—sent His son, Jesus to earth to be the ultimate influencer of all influencers. Then when Jesus was leaving earth, He left us with the Holy Spirit along with the promise that we would do even greater things! That makes us all like firefighters! We’re not only called but also equipped to influence every sphere we’re placed in.
This gets me so excited!
Now! Lets turn this into a 3-step activity:
- Identify which of these key discipline areas you feel the most weak in.
- Then determine what action(s) you can take to improve upon them.
- Commit to praying for these areas and actions
I’ll share mine first and would absolutely love to hear yours!
My Problem Areas:
I’m personally finding 3 and 4 to be the most challenging for me from a work perspective. I’ve never intentionally thought about my values as a leader, which has naturally resulted in me not sharing these values. I also usually only communicate a vision when it’s project related so the visions that I cast for our team are typically short-term and completed within 1 to 4 weeks.
My Personal Challenges:
1. Identify my values as a leader and the values I want our team to carry and be known for
2. Develop and cast more long-term vision – where do I want us to be 6 months to a year from now? What do I hope we accomplish as a team by then?
3. Figure out a way to keep the team connected to the long-term vision(s) while still handling all their daily tasks
It’s your turn!
Identify which of these key discipline areas you feel the most weak in. Then determine what action you can take to improve upon them. Lets also commit to praying for these areas where we’ve identified lack or weakness, and ask God, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to complete these works in us.
I would absolutely love to hear your discoveries, thoughts, and ideas! Lets encourage each other on this journey to becoming leaders and influencers who are worth following, just like Our Father is.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6