Are You an Accidental Leader?

Fathers are leaders

A couple of years ago, Pastor Wayne Poutoa invited me to speak on leadership, which started me thinking about leadership. Unfortunately Covid got in the way, and the speaking engagement never happened, like a lot of things in that period.

I have always liked John Maxwell’s material; one of his foundational concepts is that leadership equals influence. He then goes on to say that most people influence a minimum of four people per day. So following that premise we are all leading someone somewhere.

It comes back to this point: Are you aware that you are leading anybody and where are you taking them? I think there is leadership in a traditional sense where we are making conscious decisions and there is leading in a more unconscious manner because we are unaware of who is following us. There is an old saying that our children follow us in the footsteps we try hardest to cover up. Interestingly 90% of all communication is non-verbal, so people are observing in a variety of ways.

I would suggest that we need to be far more conscious of our sphere of influence. Who are the people in our lives that we have some influence on? Our wife, our children, co-workers, sports team mates and our neighbours. What kind of influence are you? What type of influence do you want to be?

I think in many ways we underestimate the amount of influence we have and how much influence we could have if we were a little more intentional about our behaviour. A little more thoughtful about what we do and what we say. God has given each of us a group of people we can lead. What we do with them is entirely up to us. Even if we start with our immediate family relationships. If you don’t have children, do you have nieces and nephews, what about your workmates? Stop and think about it, an unexamined life can be an unfulfilled life.

My eldest daughter resigned after being a pastor for ten years. She loves teaching the Word of God and is teaching part-time at a Bible college. She tells a story of getting up as a child and wandering out to the lounge every day and seeing me sitting in my dressing gown reading the Bible. Now did I read the Bible every day? Not really, but most days. She says it used to give her a great feeling of security, that all was going to be right in her world that day. What I did show and teach her was to read and love the Word of God. Is that where I intentionally led her? No, but my habits had a profound influence on her. What we do has a profound effect on those around us. The expression, “Do as I say and not as I do,” will not cut it in 21st century family life or work life for that matter.

Is it time to take stock, look around us and make some changes?

Paul Monahan