WHAT MAKES A LEADER? (Part 3)

A LEADER HAS INFLUENCE


“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” -Ken Blanchard

I have mentioned on Upward Glory before that during my freshman year of college I was mentored. If you want to read more about how mentorship impacted my life go check out Imagine Your Reality.Vince Lombardi Quote

I remember during one of our meetings at Sipz coffee shop. I was sitting across from Rob when he said, “We are meant to be a signpost of Heaven.” To which I said “What?”. That saying honestly sounded like another thing Christians say to make you “think”. Then Rob said, “When people pass us. Do they see you or God? Our goal on our hall (Rob was my RA) and for life is to bring Heaven to earth.” Rob’s passion was for one-on-one mentorship. At the end of the year, he challenged me to mentor someone in my hometown.

When he told me to mentor someone, and I earnestly wanted to do it, but as many of us know, wanting to do something and doing something are two different challenges.

Through several different series of events, God pushed me out of my comfort zone and told me to stop procrastinating. What I began to realize through mentorship is: You carry more influence than you think. 

There is a myth that influence is directly correlated with a title and if you do not hold a title then you cannot have influence. Everyone knows someone who held a title and did not have influence over you. There are many different reasons why this happens and it comes down to desire and character. Great leaders desire to see people succeed. Great leaders have the character to back up their words.

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” -Tom Stoppard

Words mean nothing without the character of the person saying them. The greatest example of this is with God. God’s character is perfect and that is why his word is the most popular and most life-changing book on earth. Another thing is that God’s word does not return void. When God speaks, people are encouraged, inspired, and challenged. As leaders, that is the example we are called to follow. Talk about mission impossible… yet, it is the most noble pursuit anyone could possibly try to attain.

If influence is the tool, then words are the muscle you flex to use the tool. It is imperative to use your words to encourage and build. It will be your words that build or break your influence.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” -Napoleon Hill

Each one of us already has influence, but here are three ways to continue to build our influence:

I.) BE A SERVANT

John 13:12-15 says, “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

To lead like Jesus is to be a servant. I once heard a quote that said: “If service is below you then leadership is beyond you.” Jesus was a living example of this virtue. Nothing is below a leader, therefore be willing to enter into other people’s situation to love them where they are.

II.) WIN THEIR RESPECT, NOT AN ARGUMENT

If I were to place a bet on what is the least likely thing to happen, my first would be that aliens would land on earth. A close second would be that President Trump would admit that he was wrong.

Leaders today must make friends with humility, and be willing to take a hit to their pride to build their character. Ultimately, what is more important? The people that have given you influence, or that you win one argument? People go above everything. Leaders are in the business of equipping, loving, and sending people. People always come before pride. Period.

III.) BE FAITHFUL

When it comes to influence, consistency is key. People need to know they can count on you. You don’t have to save their life or do anything spectacular. Sometimes people just need an ear to talk to, someone to seek advice from, or someone to bounce ideas off of. This sounds easy on paper, but when you have had a busy week and you finally get to rest, then you get a call from someone wanting to talk about their problems, Leadership can seem like a burden.

It is in the trials that people find the need for faithful leadership. Those are the times were trust and influence are built.


Everyone reading this has influence. It is your responsibility to handle the influence given to you to make the greatest impact possible. Use your words, service, respect, and consistency to help build what God has already given you. There is no limit to our impact when we use the gifts God has given us to fulfill the needs of the world.

A leader has influence. Next week, we will finish the What Makes a Leader? – FLIP Leadership series with prayer.

Grace and peace,

Nick Settles Initials


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