Which Direction Is Your Influence Moving?


Your influence is either increasing or decreasing; it is never staying the same. In which direction is your leadership headed?

“Leadership is influence.” John Maxwell

Influence is a great one-word definition of leadership.  Here’s another statement John is famous for: “Whoever thinks he’s leading, but has no one following, is only taking a walk!” That line still makes me smile. It’s just so true!  Leadership is not a position or a title, it’s your ability to lead in such a way that others follow you in pursuit of the vision.

I’d like to challenge you with another true leadership statement. Your influence is either increasing or decreasing, it is never staying the same.

It might seem like it’s in neutral or holding about the same, but it’s not. It is always (usually very slowly) increasing or decreasing. The reason it might appear to be holding at the same level is because the church is so relationally oriented, and with relationships things move (change) slowly. Usually at a rate that is so slow it is virtually imperceptible unless you know what to look for.

I can’t count how many pastors get blindsided by this. They call me and say something like: “I thought everything was fine. We were all doing great together then “all of a sudden the wheel’s came off”.  I promise, it wasn’t all of a sudden. It was happening for a long time but they didn’t see it. Their influence was decreasing, perhaps ever so slowly, but it was.

The good news is it’s twofold:

  1. You can intentionally increase your influence!  This is a lifetime pursuit, but for a great start, I recommend you read, and practice, John Maxwell’s The Five Levels of Leadership. (2011; Center Street / Hachette Book Group USA)
  2. You can see evidence of your influence increasing. You don’t have to remain in the dark. Here are some basic and practical things to look for:
    • More people seek you out.
    • People say yes easier and faster.
    • People’s loyalty increases.
    • More people care about what you think.
    • You are trusted with greater levels of responsibility.
    • More people want your opinion.
    • People’s trust in you as a person increases.
    • Your productivity increases.
    • People embrace your ideas with greater trust.
    • Favor and momentum are not strangers to you.
    • You get promoted.
    • More people want to be on your team.

This list is not comprehensive, but you get the idea. The bottom line is that more people follow you and your church grows! Of course it’s not that easy, but it is that simple.

It’s equally important to know when your influence is decreasing! Take the list and write the opposite for each bullet, and you have the practical evidence that your influence is headed in the wrong direction.

What direction is your leadership headed? If it is decreasing, don’t panic. But dig in. Start today. Turn-around is possible. If your influence is increasing, that is great! But don’t get comfortable. Keep learning, keep growing and keep getting better.

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