Definitions of leadership abound. Let me attempt a one-word definition----INFLUENCE.
Leadership is influence; in two words inspiring influence; nothing more, nothing less. Leadership isn't about titles, positions, prominence, corner offices, and reserved parking. Leaders who lead well influence others to think, to feel, to act in certain ways. They move people to follow, to work harder, to accomplish more, to sacrifice. They take people to places they would never go on their own. Oswald Sanders wrote, “One man can lead others only to the extent that he can influence them.” (Spiritual Leadership)
Have you noticed?
- Husbands/fathers of influence inspire their wives/families.
- Good coaches influence well. Their teams bust themselves to strive for and achieve excellence
- Teachers of influence motivate their students to accomplish more than the students ever imagined.
- Influential sales managers motivate the sales force to meet their quotas monthly.
Servant leaders in ministry influence people to become effective in Kingdom work for the glory of God and the good of the church.
Influence has little to do with temperament or style. Some servant leaders are loud, hard-charging, fast moving, go for broke. Others are quiet, often soft spoken, more lay back, yet strong in leadership. There are leaders who lead by extrinsic motivation and are successful. Others despise that approach, preferring to motivate by intrinsic appeals. Some leaders are highly intelligent, well read, scholarly. Other leaders are not as sharp intellectually, but they are well seasoned, wise, and just as effective as the brilliant leader.
Regardless of your temperament or style, influence begins with involvement. Effective leaders get involved with others.
The secular field agrees. Read what some leaders have said:
“I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.” (John D. Rockefeller).
Some years ago, the American Management Association, surveyed 200 managers, and the majority said, “. . . the single most valuable ingredient---the paramount skill---was the ability to get along with people.” This was rated higher than intelligence, decisiveness, job knowledge, or technical skills.
“85% of managerial failure is due to ineptness in dealing with people.”
“The kiss of death on anyone's personnel file is they don't know how to get along with people.” (Lee Iacocca)
If leadership is influence and influence begins with involvement, the place for involvementlies in relationships.
SERVANT LEADERS LEAD OUT OF RELATIONSHIPS
QUESTIONS: Are you a loner? Do you ignore relationships? Are you withdrawn? “He who separates himself seeks his own desire.” (Proverbs 18:1)