"But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary" - Philemon 14.
When people are commanded to comply, they usually do because there is an "or else" consequence attached. This does not lead to permanent change or the development or growth of the follower. One of the key characteristics of servant leadership is influence, leadership's ability to direct people under their care through persuasion and patience. Paul could have ordered the man in this verse to do the right thing, but he appealed to him, wanting him to consent from free will and not coercion. Influence cannot just happen, but must stem from a credible and established relationship between the influencer and the listeners and followers. If leaders only show up when they need something, the followers will feel manipulated and the influence process will not have its full and lasting effect.
LEADERSHIP STEP: How are your relationships with those whom you are asking to follow you? Do you know their birthdays? What it is that motivates them to work or minister? What demotivates them? Your step today is to assess your relationship with each follower, giving it a score of 1 (poor) to 5 (great). Then set dates to visit each team member twice over the next month, just to talk over lunch or at their work station (not in your office for it can be intimidating for them to meet there). The goal is to build a better relationship with them than you have now by learning about them and their aspirations and fears.