Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
When the topic of influence is brought up often times the focus remains on sharpening our leadership skills. Without even knowing it, this mindset places us on shaky ground. If our attention is solely directed on our own ability, pride begins to creep in. We become the one who is solely responsible for the change.
We start to reason that if we have enough talent, charisma and drive that we can accomplish any goal and we will ensure this happens by any means necessary. Suddenly, our talent is outpacing our character. Our motives for influencing others becomes murky at best. We can very easily shift towards manipulation and coercion in our relationships with others. It’s our image and recognition that matters above all else.
Drive is what moves and compels us. Yet, it is our character that keeps our drive in check and on the right road. Even though furthering our leadership ability is important, our competency will be of little value if we aren’t trustworthy. Relationships, and the ability to lead, require trust. The freedom to trust is built on a foundation of love. We must bring ourselves fully to our leadership so that our influence is the result of trust and not fear.
“As you go” leadership is a way of thinking about influence without having to be someone else or somewhere else. It involves living one’s life with an eye on God’s purpose. It’s focused not on the blessings we receive, but rather seeking out ways to be a blessing for someone else. Blessing is the act of our soul extending toward another in love.
To love someone is to see another person as part of yourself and this requires empathy. When we extend ourselves, we offer ourselves to another. Leadership is not about us, but it requires that we bring our whole heart and all of ourselves to every opportunity that is presented to us.
- Where do you need to bring your whole heart to an issue or situation that has grabbed your attention? What would it look like to have empathy for those that are in need?
God, remind me that every person I come in contact with is in need of the same grace, forgiveness, and love that I am. Help me to see their need as my need. Rather than rely on my talent to make an impact, I desire for my character and integrity to lead the way. Let my life be one that points others towards You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.