As Dr. John Maxwell has long said, “Leadership is influence.” But what is influence exactly?
For the sake of this series, we will define influence as “The ability to change other people’s thoughts, beliefs and actions.”
Imagine how much better church leadership would be if when we engaged with people, our engagement actually changed their thoughts, beliefs and actions! Whether through the preaching on Sunday, teaching a Sunday School class or Wednesday night Bible Study, or giving direction to church staff, having a greater degree of influence will benefit you greatly.
In this series of articles, I’m going to show you exactly how to gain trust, respect, admiration and loyalty from those you seek to influence. Now, before we dive into the four things you must work on to gain trust, respect, admiration and loyalty from others, there is a little groundwork that must be laid.
"Your personal transformation is foundational to increasing your influence with others."
When most people want to have more influence, they ask what they must do. Primarily they are looking for persuasion techniques or tactics. Now, don’t get me wrong, persuasion techniques like how to make a great presentation and how to handle questions etc are good things to know and ought to be mastered, but influence happens at a deeper level than that. True influence happens at the character level. People are drawn to what you do, yes, but they are drawn even more by who you are.
We all know very highly skilled people who end up with no influence because they are undone by a character flaw of some sort. All the skills in the world won’t maintain influence with others if they come to question your character.
So rather than focusing exclusively on persuasion techniques, it is far more important to focus on your own personal transformation, or becoming the type of person who other people want to follow. In doing this, people give you the ability to influence them. You see, in the leader/follower relationship, the follower decides if influence will happen or not, not the leader. The leader can only decide how they will lead and the follower decides if that equals influence.
In the next four articles, I will share with you the main component for gaining trust, respect, admiration and loyalty from those you desire to lead.