W48D6 - Influence

"For you yourselves know how you ought to
follow our example. We were not idle when
we were with you" - 2 Thessalonians 3:7.

Leaders are almost always teaching, helping to frame decisions, equip and educate workers and communicate vision and values. While much of this teaching is done using words, some of it is done by the leaders setting an example and modeling the desired behaviors, work habits, and relationships that they believe are necessary for success and ethical practices. While people may not heed or pay attention to the positive role model leaders play, they almost always identify a negative role model - and that poor example usually undermines the credibility of the leader and works against the desired goals or vision that leader sets.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine the role model you are providing for those who work closest to you. Are you consciously trying to model your leadership philosophy? Do you accept the fact that you are held to a higher standard that others in the organization? Do you also accept that you are a teacher, for good or not-so-good, and your words carry more power if you have credibility in the eyes of the listener? Where can you improve as a role model?

W43D6 - Influence

"We did this, not because we do not have
the right to such help, but in order to offer
ourselves as a model for you to imitate" - 2 Thessalonians 3:9.

Paul worked to pay the expenses for all his ministry team, even thought he could have expected the places he was in to pick up the tab. He explained in this verse why he did that: so people would learn from his example that it is better to give than receive. While Paul was a prolific teacher and writer, he also taught through example, thus using every means available to influence and persuade others to follow his revelation of Christ and the Church. Leaders must be aware people are watching them and that they have a wonderful opportunity to model whatever behaviors they desire others to adopt and follow. To not model what they are asking others to be and do is inviting others to dismiss those leaders as insincere and irrelevant.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to take a look in the mirror and see what you look like, so to speak. Are you a walking billboard for the attitudes, behaviors and skills that you have determined are most important to you as a leader and to your organization? Do you take shortcuts because "I am the leader"? The best way to determine this is to conduct a 360-degree profile, for which you will need the services of an outsider who will drill down and see how others see you.

W38D6 - Influence

"This is what the Lord said to me: 'Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah'" - Jeremiah 27:2-3.

Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah, but his purpose was to be a prophet to the nations (see Jeremiah 1:5). The challenge was that the nations did not recognize or worship Jehovah, Jeremiah's God. In today's passage, Jeremiah was sent to give a word to the envoys visiting Jerusalem to take back to their masters. In bringing the word, the Lord had Jeremiah wear an ox yoke around his neck in order to help get the message across to them. The best Jeremiah could hope to do was influence those envoys, for he had no authority over them or their king masters. At times, that is what leaders can only hope to do: influence others so they willingly choose to listen and follow the leader's wisdom.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Jeremiah became part of the message he brought to the envoys when he wore the yoke to help express his message. You too must become part of your message, using whatever media possible and any illustrations necessary to influence others. Your Step today is to do an influence check. Are you using social media to communicate? Is your communication lively or dry? Do people pay attention when you speak? What can you do to improve?

W33D6 - Influence

"Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, 'I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you'" - Joshua 2:8-9.

Rahab was the women speaking in these verses when she hid on her roof the men Joshua had dispatched to spy out the land where his army was headed. This woman had remarkable insight into what God was doing, even though she was not yet part of God's people. Notice she indicated that the spies and Israel had obtained quite a reputation in her land, so much so that the people were terrified of their presence. Notice also that she had insight into what God was going to give her homeland to the spies and their people. Leaders must pay close attention to the reputation they and their organizations have, for a good reputation is a powerful tool for public relations and goes far beyond the effects of any advertising or marketing campaign.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to get in touch with what the community, your neighbors, competitors, customers, clients, and general public knows and says about your organization or company. Perhaps you need to attach surveys to any contact you have with the public. Someone should monitor your organization for online and media mentions. Being involved in community activities and service organizations is another way to build and monitor your image with the public.

W28D6 - Influence

"Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his
wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable,
able to teach, . . . " - 1 Timothy 3:1-2.

Leaders in the early church were to model the Christian behavior that was expected. In some sense, they were teaching through and by their lives so that followers could not only hear the truth being taught, but see the truth being lived. Leaders cannot underestimate the importance of their position as role model for followers will be quick to see when leaders talk the talk but don't walk the walk. When followers see that disconnect of action from words, they can become cynical and are encouraged themselves to behave in a careless and undisciplined manner, thus depriving the organization of their best work and creativity.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to determine if you are walking your walk. Since you are the leader, it may be difficult to get accurate feedback since people fear possible retaliation. With that in mind, identify a 360 feedback tool (almost any HR department or online search can help you find one). Invest in having a 360 done and then study the results to see how people view you and what areas you need to improve to influence others through your behaviors.

W23D6 - Influence

"As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man
named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s
booth. 'Follow me,' he told him, and Matthew
got up and followed him" - Matthew 9:9.

Jesus was a leader who influenced other people. He did not manipulate or control others, and He did not use His leadership power to force others to do His will 'or else' there would be serious consequences. He persuaded, even commanded, but the people whom He impacted were always free to do as they chose, and some followed while others walked away. Leaders today would do well to study His example and use their power more as a spice and not as a club, flavoring their relationships but not allowing it to dominate them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: You may be wielding power more often than you realize and people are following not because they want to, but because they are afraid of the consequences not to do so. Your Step today is to identify some roles where you can work on your ability to influence others. You can do that through writing (people can choose to read or not), volunteering with some civic group (youth would be perfect), or teaching something where you do not grade the students.

W18D5 - Influence

"All the believers were one in heart and mind.
No one claimed that any of their possessions
was their own, but they shared everything they had" - Acts 4:32.

This verse shows the unity of purpose that was operating in the early church. This kind of unity could not be obtained by coersion or manipulation. It was present because of Jesus' influence that was established through His teaching and life example. When the people saw this and the apostles taught this, there was unity through influence. Leaders know and want this kind of unity in their organization; they often don't know how to get it or want it more quickly than influence can produce. In either scenario, they abandon their role to influence followers and begin to demand compliance.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today let's examine your role as influencer in your organization or family. One way you can do this is through training and teaching. How much time do you spend instructing your followers in what's most important to you and your organization and equipping them to do what you are teaching? Map out a plan today that will provide you opportunities to teach and influence in your staff meeting, off sites and other corporate gatherings.

W13D6 - Influence

"So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat.
He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself
was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw
his cloak around him" - 1 Kings 19:19.

Elijah had a 'word from the Lord' to go and anoint Elisha to be his successor. When he found Elisha, he did not overwhelm him by telling him that the Lord had chosen Elisha. He did not create a dramatic scene at all. Instead, Elijah just touched him with his cloak. Then he backed off and gave Elisha space to hear for himself and figure out what God was saying to him. Leaders must learn to influence others, just like Elijah did, so the followers can make their own decisions without undue pressure, manipulation or coercion from the leader. When people make decisions for themselves, they are much more apt to be convinced of the rightness of their decisions and follow through on their commitments.

LEADERSHIP STEP: If you are the 'boss,' people may be intimidated just by nature of authority/follower relationships. Your task is to remove the intimidation so you can truly influence others. Today's Step is for you to schedule one-on-one meetings with your direct reports and spend some time with them with no agenda but to get to know them, and allow them to get to know you. This may take place in your office, over lunch or at a sporting event, whatever works best.

W8D6 - Influence

"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.

W3D6 - Influence

"Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love" - Philemon 8.

There is no question that at times leaders must tell, even order, others to do something. Yet when possible, there is a better way, and it is described in today's verse. You can take the time and make the effort to influence others to do the correct thing. The problem for some leaders who are addicted to action is that influence takes time and requires effort to fashion the most effective appeal possible. Yet people who have some say in the decision are much more likely to commit all their intellectual and creative capabilities when they do so willingly.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you relying too much on your authority, ordering people under you to do this and that? Take a page from Paul's book and begin to find ways to influence people so they can decide for themselves to take the right course of action. This requires that you know your team and learn what motivates them to action. Your step today is to schedule some team-building time during which you can learn more about what motivates or demotivates the people who report to you.