Leading with Greater Influence


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!


A Great Concert


David the son of Jesse is undoubtedly one of the greatest kings in ancient Israel. He was known as the man after God’s heart. He led the people with integrity and compassion. Scripture says David served God’s purpose in his generation. I believe there is a lot we can learn from David’s story as we do our purpose especially as regards our relationship with people as we lead them to execute out God-given vision.

For instance, scripture talks about how some men who were regarded as misfits, outcasts and vagabonds came to him at the cave of Adullam. At the end, David transformed these men into mighty men who killed giants and recorded great exploits. I believe the key to David’s success with these people was his ability to lead them from his heart. Let’s break this down into bits.

1. He believed in their potentials.

There was no way David could have influenced those men as much as he did without having faith in them. David constantly gave them challenges to conquer. He constantly told them how much faith he had in them. One day, his people told him how afraid they were to take on a challenge, instead of talking down on them, David went back to God to get an assurance of victory and thereby inspired the people to place a demand on their own potentials. (1 Samuel 23:1-6)

People will perform a lot better if we learn to see their potentials and believe in their capacity to do great things.

2. He committed to helping them grow.

David committed to helping his people get better. He saw their potentials and committed himself to cultivating them. He organized his forces and appointed captains of thousands. He did not make himself the only captain. He empowered others to lead by helping them grow. (2 Sam. 18:1-3)

A lot of people will do better with a little push. You can make a great impact on people if you learn to sow seeds to help them. Supply them with resources and encouragement. Make their growth your priority.

3. He celebrated their role in his journey.

David never underrated the role those men played in his journey to the throne. Even when the men were too tired and could not join the battle, David gave them proceeds from the plunder as if they had fought with him. He recognised the successes they had experienced together in the past. (1 Sam. 30:23-25)

Are there friends, mentors or colleagues who have sowed great seeds that benefit you? Wouldn’t it be great to tell them how much they mean to you once in a while?

There is a story about a famous organist in the 1800s that illustrates the importance of recognizing valuable partnerships. The musician travelled from town to town holding concerts. In each town, he hired a boy to pump the organ during the concert. After one particular performance, he didn’t even shake the boy. Still, the boy followed the organist to his hotel.

“We sure had a great concert tonight, didn’t we?” said the boy.
“What do you mean ‘we’?” said the musician. “I had a great concert. Now why don’t you go home?”

The next night when the organist was halfway through a magnificent fugue, the organ suddenly stopped. The organist was stupefied. Then suddenly, the little boy stuck his head around the corner of the organ, grinned, and said, “We ain’t having a very good concert tonight, are we?”

To effectively do purpose, you must understand that your purpose is only a piece of the whole puzzle. Doing purpose is a people business. If you cannot believe in people, commit to helping them grow and be willing to celebrate them as their growth affects your pursuit, then, your impact will be little and you certainly cannot have a great concert!

What other ways can we maximise the gifts of the awesome people around us? Please share your thoughts. Leave a comment.

I call you blessed!