A leader is influential. John Maxwell states “If you do not have influence, you will never be able to lead others.” In a congregational setting, the use of influence is essential. Perhaps, in a secular organization in which there are various motivators to secure cooperation from people, such as promotion, raises, company perks, and the treat of firing, people are more likely to follow a positional leader, but in a voluntary organization, mostly influence is all that the leader can exercise.
Stephen R. Covey, in his excellent book on leadership provides three basic categories of influence: 1. Model by example. 2. Build caring relationships. 3. Mentor by instruction. He continues in the chapter by giving more specific actions in each of these areas. Some of the best advice is refraining from saying the unkind or negative thing. To not say the critical thing, even in a moments of fatigue is a form of supreme self-mastery. Also, distinguish between the person and the behavior or performance. A leader first needs to communicate and help build a sense of intrinsic worth and self-esteem totally apart from comparisons and judgments. Under the section on building caring relationships, Covey notes some excellent behaviors such as reward open, honest expressions or questions, admit your mistakes, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and are influenced by them first. In the last section on mentoring through instruction, he notes avoid fight or flight, rather talk through differences, agree on the limits, rules, expectations, and consequences, and let natural consequences teach responsible behavior.
The management of one’s influence will make or break his or her leadership in the congregation.
 John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 11.
 Stephen R. Covey, Principle-Centered Leadership (New York: Franklin Covey, 1991), 121-128.
- Values Influence Choices
- Read “Ultimate Leadership”
- Review of “Leading the Congregation”
- Will The Leader Stand UP
- Beauty of a D.Min Class