You may have heard it said, “Don’t follow me, follow Jesus.” It sounds spiritual, and I believe people are very well intended when they say it. What if I told you the Bible doesn’t teach that. In fact, the great commission was established by the concept of influencing people because Christ has influenced us. (Matthew 28:19) We can only make disciples through influencing others! Paul made this statement “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) The New King James vision uses the word “imitate.” Wow. What a statement, what a standard.
Influence isn’t free, it has a cost. Impact can happen in a moment but influence takes time, energy and effort. It cannot be overlooked that Jesus and 11 of the guys that changed the world with him were persecuted, hated, and all but one of them were killed for their desire to transform the world. Influence is costly. Leadership is costly.
When shopping for a new shirt, the first thing I do is check if it’s plaid (Well most of the time;)) I then feel the shirt, and proceed to look at the price tag. No matter how much I like the shirt, if it is not in the budget or seems over priced, I won’t buy it.
Leadership has some price tags….
1. Pursuit of Approval
Think about every famous leader you like. Now look at how many people that are against them and hate them. There are probably as many critics as followers.
As leaders we need to be like-able, but our priority is not to be liked. We all like to be liked, the problem comes when we love to be liked. It’s hard. For me, this is probably the hardest thing about leading. I am people oriented and I love people deeply. Leaders have to come to grips that leading sometimes means losing popularity. Leading is often against the grain, and you cannot make everyone happy. Part of leading is making difficult decisions. I have had to come to face the fact that I cannot lead everybody.
My wants and rights as a leader have to take a backseat to my influence. The leader understands what needs to happen is more important than what I want to happen. There are a lot of things you can do as a person that you cannot do as a leader. Leaders don’t fight for rights, they fight for influence. Don’t allow your freedoms to cost you your influence. Leaders have to live at a higher standard because we never want to potentially risk their influence.
John Maxwell says, “Credibility is a leader's currency. With it, leaders are solvent. Without it, they're bankrupt.”
We develop credibility by our choices and by being faithful. By following through with our word and commitments consistently over time.
3. The Convince of Making Excuses
Leaders do not have the luxury of making excuses. Being responsible means that we take care of what is in our hand. We have to be on top of things. We don’t leave things undone and complete tasks. Leaders are competent enough to figure our creative ways to make things happen. I want to encourage you to try to live your life never making excuses. When others say, “it cant be done,” you say, “lets figure it out, lets make a way.” (See my blog on being a solutionist.)