November 27, 2020
One of the primary roles of a leader is to influence others to achieve a certain goal. As best-selling author and businessman Kevin Kruse puts it: “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
This, however, is also a leader’s potential pitfall. In the passionate pursuit of a goal, a leader’s relationships can sometimes suffer if not managed properly.
So how can we avoid this? Here are three solid principles that we can learn as we desire to lead others in a meaningful way.
I couldn’t forget the eulogy that a father gave at his son’s funeral. According to this father, his greatest regret in life was telling his son that, as a father, he would do everything to provide for him. “In the process of doing so, I spent more time trying to provide than being there with you,” he said.
The father said that his firm desire to lead well as the head of his family cost him his relationship with his son. Certainly he loved his son so much and he only wanted the best for his family. But his experience and realizations can teach us a lesson or two about the importance of valuing our relationships while we try our best to fulfill our responsibilities.
One way to value relationships is by investing time and energy in them. Make time for your parents, siblings, guardians, or even your friends. While it’s true that leadership entails sacrifice, our key relationships should never be the ones to suffer.
Another way to value relationships is by leading compassionately and empathically. You can do this by being sensitive to their needs and by serving them as their leader.
Remember: Accomplishing our goals and fulfilling our responsibilities are equally as important as managing our relationship with the people that we lead.
One of the marks of a great leader is his ability to accomplish his mission while developing his team and managing his relationships.
Leadership is influence, said renowned author John Maxwell.
This means that people follow leaders not just because of their position but because of their influence. A leader with no follower is no leader at all.
Another way of looking at it is that true leaders don’t need a position to lead. A child can influence his family even if he’s not the one in charge. A student need not be the class president in order to influence his classmates.
But there’s another angle to this adage: Leaders—whether they’re good or bad—will inevitably influence or affect others by virtue of their title or position.
Proverbs 29:2 (NLT) says, “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.”
Our virtues, beliefs, and character affect the people around us. Our leadership can either damage or develop the people that we’re leading.
So mind your influence. Be aware of your effect on other people. Be mindful of your actions, be wise in your decisions, guard your words, and surround yourself with people who will remind you, call you out, and hold you accountable.
May we be the kind of leaders that develop people and influence them to embrace godly character.
The best way to make a positive impact on others with your leadership is by serving them. A leader inconveniences himself for the convenience of others.
Jesus said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” (Matthew 20:25–27, NLT)
We serve not because we want to be loved by the people we lead. We serve not to gain approval or positive ratings. Our motivation to serve is because we genuinely love and care for others, and we’re willing to use our platform, power, privileges, and position to enrich others, not ourselves.
Jesus is the ultimate example of servant leadership.
He came to fulfill a mission to save the world. In the course of fulfilling this mission, He developed and empowered people to become leaders. He served multitudes, healed the sick, fed thousands, and reached out to the cancelled and the marginalized.
This is the kind of leader that we want, and the kind of leader that we want to be: a leader who serves, loves, and adds value to people; the kind of leader who leads and serves like Christ.