Essential Leadership Skills
Leadership is the ability to mobilize others to willingly accomplish a common mission. People follow leaders because they choose to, not because they have to.
1) Developing and Maintaining Influence.
- All leadership skills are to help the leader develop and maintain influence.
Influence is the ability to convince, inspire, persuade, and encourage others to follow them. Without influence there is no one to lead. A Leader’s effectiveness can be measured by the amount of influence they have over the ones they lead.
- If you are not willing to serve, you are not qualified to lead.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The best leaders in any capacity are, without fail, are the best of servants to those they are leading. When we hear the word, “servant” we tend to think of a slave or a hired hand. In the case of leadership it takes on a much higher and nobler meaning. A servant leader is one who is devoted to meeting the needs of those he is leading.
- Leadership is not management.
You lead people and you manage things, logistics, resources, plans, vision, etc. There is a huge difference between leaders and managers. Anyone can be a manager but not all managers are leaders. Managers are appointed to a position of power. Leaders gain authority by developing influence. People that are managed do things because they have to. People that are led do things because they want to.
Power vs. Authority
Power – The ability or right to force or coerce people to do your will, regardless of their willingness to do so, because of your title, position, might, skill etc.
Maybe you have heard phrases like: “Do it or else!” or “Do it because I said so!” or “Do it or you’re fired!” This is the use of Power. Power forces people do your will. Power can be given and taken away. It can be bought or sold. People can attain a position of power by any number of unjust means. Not so with Authority.
The use of power has its place, but continued use of power will erode relationships and create tension. You may be able get a few seasons out of power, you may even accomplish some great things, but it is usually at the expense of healthy relationships and healthy relationships are the key to maintaining influence and authority.
All great leaders pursue, cultivate and protect healthy relationships.
Authority – The ability or skill of getting people to do your will because of your personal influence in their life just because you asked them to.
Authority = Influence
We are all called to lead in some capacity. In our families, at our jobs, in our local government, or maybe on a sports team. Although we may not see ourselves as leaders, everyone is called to live a life that leads others to Christ. Look at this powerful scripture in Ephesians.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
This passage is a goldmine of revelation for leaders. Follow God’s example…walk in love…and give yourself for the benefit of other. Understanding that God has given YOU as gift to others will keep your role in the proper perspective.
How we live our daily lives determines the amount of influence we have on those around us. When we are examples in speech, conduct, and character we become salt and light to those around us, building confidence in others to follow us and create a desire within them to help fulfill God’s vision and purpose for the church.
Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Ministry leaders that work primarily with volunteers must be skillful in leading with authority because the use of power will drive volunteers away. Authority grows as respect for the individual grows. Once you have earned respect, your influence will begin to increase as long as you are consistent.
Power can be handed from one person to another. Authority must be developed and maintained. When power is used consistently, resentment, division, strife and discord will surely follow.
Developing and maintaining influence is what builds a faithful following and a dynamic leadership team. It is also the foundation upon which you develop a culture among your followers.
Question: What is the difference between power and authority?
Question: What 3 areas can you improve on to increase your influence with others?
Question: Can influence be delegated?
Question: Why are healthy relationships important to leaders?
Question: In your opinion, what 3 qualifications for leadership are the most important?
Question: How do you define influence?