Archives For influence

Follower Of One

March 10, 2016

Do leaders ever follow? Is there anyone you follow? A while back, I realized I’m a follower of this one person…

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My first management job felt like boot camp or pledge week for 2 years. Almost everything I did was wrong or hard, and I used to say “half of what I know and everything I didn’t know was bad.” It was a draining and trying time.

My life returned and my development as a leader progressed only when I started to embrace new (for me) ideas for leadership.  I call those Attitude Adjustments.  You can read about the others here.  Today’s adjustment, the 4th in this series, is the idea that everyone leads.

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Sources of Leadership

September 30, 2014

Even after almost 5 years, I still believe there are only 2 sources of leadership? What is the source of your influence?

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Who’s the Winner?

November 6, 2012

Who's the Winner? | Mike Henry Sr.In an election in the US, you always know who won. You know even before it happens.

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I recently read a post on leadership titled “Why Leadership Training Doesn’t Work” by Geoff Surratt. He talks about two findings he and “church leaders” have discovered about leadership and leadership training.

  1. “It turns out some people don’t make good leaders. Not everyone is a leader.”
  2. “[L]eadership classes don’t develop leaders. At the end of six weeks (or nine weeks or two years), students become graduates, not necessarily leaders.”

I agree with both of his main premises. Leadership classes do not develop leaders, and some people don’t make good leaders.*

But, this post exemplifies how the church misses the boat on leadership. In short, I agree with everything he said, as long as you define “leader” as the one who is “in charge.”  But is that the best definition of “leader?”

What if leadership is nothing more than intentional influence? What if great leaders are those who intentionally influence great numbers of people to accomplish great things?

People can be “in charge” and never lead.  We who write about leadership often refer to those in-charge (whether leaders or non-leaders) as “managers.”  Managers manage. It’s not good or bad, it’s often necessary.  But management is not leadership.

Leaders always influence others, whether in-charge or not. At our core, we influence. We can’t help it; we were created both to influence others and to be influenced. Once we understand God intended us to relate to one another, influence one another, serve one another, we become responsible for the type of influence we have on others.

In the church, because we often talk about “the leader” as the one who is “in-charge,” we separate the position from the person. We tell people to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23), yet little of this relates to being in charge.  We disconnect the simple fact that one of the greatest reasons for doing demonstrating this fruit is so that others “might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matt 5:16)

We who believe in Christ are all called to glorify Christ. We are all told to work out our salvation. As we work out our salvation we develop ourselves as people who intentionally influence others.  What else could you call that person but a leader?

Even if I’m no good at being “in charge,” I’m responsible for how my life looks to others. As a Christian in the world but not of the world, I’m called to be as good a leader (intentional influencer) as I can be. I should find opportunities to develop as a leader all throughout the church, but it seems the focus there is to get me to join someone else in what they’re doing, rather than find that thing I’m best equipped and most energized to do. I’m constantly either being called to follow, or to decide to be in charge of some sanctioned activity that conforms to some pre-conceived model.

My dream is to find a church where each leader is launched in their own leadership in their own sphere of influence. Imagine a church where members and staff understood clearly that “equipping” means training everyone to be the leader God intended them to be!

We are all leaders. We all influence. And the church, of all communities, should be where we are equipped and challenged to be the leader Christ created us to be, with our kids, with our coworkers (21st century “neighbors”) as well as wherever we’re called, even to the ends of the earth.

Do you feel mobilized and equipped to find your mission?  How can I help you?

Photo © berc –

* The point of this authors post was about how Jesus trained leaders.  It’s a great call to a mentor or life-based leadership development model based on the life and methods of Christ.  I don’t want to take away from the author’s insights calling us to leave program-based training in place of a life-based model. 

Social Media Influence

June 21, 2012

Michael Holmes (@michaelgholmes, web) has just published a new e-book titled Twitter Traffic Strategies, Top Tips from Top Christian Leaders.  The book contains some great insights from several Christians who are leaders and who are active in social media.  It also contains an article from me.  I’m honored to be included in this list of great ideas and great people and I hope you get the e-book and develop some ideas of your own about just being your-Christian-self in the social media world.

I also have a word of warning: be careful that you do things that are comfortable to you.  If you simply want to generate traffic to make money, you may or may not be successful.  However if you want to have an impact, you must be genuine and others-focused.  Be careful to avoid “using” material like this just for personal gain.  The true rewards of connecting with people, online or in person, last much longer than money. They’re rewards you get when you give more than you get, and when you help people who can’t help you back.  Those rewards can’t be taken away.

So, please check out the free ebook and go change the world for the better, every chance you get.

Mowing my yard yesterday, I listened to my mix of 70’s rock and Christian music. My favorite songs speak volumes about my relationship with Christ. In one respect, I still hang on to and enjoy some of great music that predates my relationship with Christ. Christian music has awakened me to the power music has to take me out of my circumstances and refresh my relationship with Christ, but that familiar rock from my teens still makes my heart sing too.

Up comes the song Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. In with the great rhythm and guitar licks is this last verse

Forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold
All that you need, is in your soul,
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try,
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

True satisfaction can’t come from anything in this world. Many would agree when I say our world, and many of the people in it are broken. But, are we mostly good, with a little bad, or are we mostly bad with a little good? If people are basically good, we just need some help every now and again. We need a better government and a little more money. If we’re basically good, we need fewer obstacles. If I’m basically good, then it would be encouraging to remind me to find satisfaction in my soul.

But the Bible says that when Adam and Eve ate the apple, they died. And the world was placed under a curse. The good we see in people is the good created in us before the curse. But the bad is in our nature under the curse. It’s in every one of us.

“You can’t teach people to be lazy – either they have it, or they don’t.” ~ Dagwood Bumstead

I was created for a relationship with Christ. Part of that relationship is developed daily when I follow what Christ has for me to do. One of those things is glorifying Him, or showing Him off. When I act according to his commands, I show people that I think He is who He claimed to be. I live my life, sacrificing some temporary satisfaction for eternal satisfaction.

You see, the Simple Man’s Mom, wanted her son to be satisfied. I want my family and friends to be satisfied too. But I want them to be satisfied forever; not just for an hour or a year, or even for their whole life on this Earth. Pursuit of short-term satisfaction can prove eternally empty. I think the western church has lost much of its influence because we Christians pursue satisfaction the same way and at the same rate as our non-beliveing friends. We have to minister to people cross-culturally because the people in our culture don’t see our faith as having an impact or making a difference. Said another way, I have lost much of my eternal influence because I pursue satisfaction the same way my non-believing friends do. People can’t tell me from the rest of the world, although I believe differently. If I pursue satisfaction only in this world, I’ll fall short of showing my Savior to my friends and being satisfied for eternity.

The ability to be truly satisfied is in me, but it is because Christ put it there. I don’t want to take that to my grave, without sharing that with my friends. I want to make a difference right here. May God give me opportunities to sacrifice today in a way that will show Him off to my friends.

How about you? Are you energized or convicted by the thought of being different than the people around you? Do you live like you have a different value system, one that’s designed to work for eternity? How can I help you demonstrate your pursuit of eternal satisfaction this week?