If you believe that leadership is influence, then it stands to reason that everyone is a leader. While some leaders are easily recognized because of a position they hold, all of us are given a portion of leadership as a lifelong assignment.
We influence and are influenced by the thinking, behavior, and interaction we have with others in this massive human exchange called life. Automatic and subtle we seldom slow down long enough to measure the weight and ripple of our words and actions. Like the maestro’s flick of the wrist, we can change the rhythm of life around us.
Think about how others are constantly influencing you.
- What were the last words your spouse said to you? How did it set the tone for your day?
- What was the most recent conversation with your parents? Did it cause you stress or inspiration?
- When was the last time your son or daughter pleaded a compelling case for something he or she desperately wanted? Did it motivate you to action or not?
- Was that casual feedback from your boss distressing? Did it roll off your shoulders or crash unexpectedly into the day of someone working for you?
- How well did the woman serve you at the local drive-thru serve? Did she put a smile on your face or leave you annoyed?
Think about how you are constantly influencing others.
- What were the last words you spoke to your spouse? Did they leave joy or take it away?
- How did you wrap up the long talk with your parents? Were they feeling loved and respected or neglected and dismissed?
- What was the most recent investment you made in your children? Did they feel you present, interested, and committed to their lives or did you allow a distraction to rob you of a forever-to-be-remembered moment?
- What counsel did you recently give to a subordinate? Was he or she better because of it or overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness?
- How did you respond to when the young women who took your order at the restaurant? Did you restore her faith in humanity or simply confirm the worst?
As you begin to understand leadership as pure influence, that knowledge will challenge you to slow down and be more intentional about how you release it in all areas of your life.
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’ ” (Matthew 25:40).
How do you steward the influence you’ve been given?