When Jesus was going to start out his ministry, scripture tells us about how he chose 12 men who left their established lives to follow Him. Later, Peter the most outspoken of the 12 expressed their concern when he said they had left all to follow Jesus and asked what they would get in return.
How can a leader command such a great influence that people leave all that they have and pursue his vision? How can a leader make such a difference in the lives of people that enables them develop so much confidence in him to the extent of being willing to jump into the fire for his sake?
The pursuit of purpose is a matter of leadership. We always have to lead people as we live out the purpose of our lives. If we will lead with greater influence, the people we lead must have confidence in our leadership. But how can we make this happen? These are a few thoughts:
1. Communicate the vision
When I served in my campus fellowship, one of our first meetings after a new tenure is inaugurated is what is called “Make it Plain.” The new president shares the vision God has put in his heart for the fellowship. He shares what will be the direction of the fellowship for the next one year. This meeting is usually very strategic. The leader must be as clear as possible as misconception can affect the pursuit of the vision. As a leader, you must learn to communicate your vision clearly and constantly. It is good to make the vision plain at the start of the project but it is best to share the vision regularly. I love how Michael Hyatt puts it: People can’t read your mind. Leaders should speak up and speak often.
2. Model integrity
People are most influenced by who they trust. The key to gaining their trust is constantly modeling oneness in what you think, say and do. Don’t say what you don’t mean. Douglas Adams observed that to give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
The disciples followed Jesus wholeheartedly because he modelled integrity. He was the same in Jerusalem, Judah and Bethany. Scripture describes the things Jesus began to do and to teach. This was his style of leadership. Before he taught anything, he did it.
3. Represent selflessness
Leadership expert and author, John Maxwell is commonly known as the person who said people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. This is an apt observation about what you must do to lead with greater influence. Lead selflessly. Leadership is service. Doing purpose makes you a servant to humanity not a boss of other people. If you don’t understand this, you can’t lead with more influence and command a following that is enthusiastic about your vision. You have to learn to think of yourself less. Life must not revolve around you. It has to be about serving God and providing solutions that attract societal gratitude.
In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the dwarfs gathered to go up against Smaug, the fierce dragon, to retrieve their stolen treasure. In spite of the dangerously frightening quest, Balin, the dwarfs’ second-in-command, expressed confidence in Thorin: “There is one I could follow. There is one I could call King.” His commitment to the mission, as dangerous as it was, was empowered by his confidence in his leader.
Your leadership will be more impactful if the people you lead have greater confidence in you. What will you do today to gain the confidence of those you lead? How can you communicate your vision more clearly? How well have you been modelling integrity? Who comes first in your organization, you or the people you lead?
I call you blessed!