Those You Influence Need More Than Your Advice

Read Time ~3 Minutes

People are looking to you for leadership, even though you may not know it. 

Or you MAY know it . . . But you don’t know HOW to help those who follow you.

Like many of you, I haven’t always had many older, wiser mentors in my life who could speak into me, help me grow up, encourage my gifts, or call out what they saw in me.

And to a degree, this was good. 

In different seasons, the absence of a human mentor has helped me to

  • look to Jesus to answer my internal questions, 
  • deepen my dependence on Him INSTEAD of people, 
  • sand down a probably-imbalanced desire for approval.  

But over the years, by the grace of God and much prayer, the Lord eventually brought some INCREDIBLE mentors into my life.  

Don’t get me wrong – no mentor or coach is perfect, and mine haven’t done everything right.

Some of them should have corrected me more pointedly. Others could have been more forthright with me about mistakes they saw me making.

Even so, their presence in my life brought 

  • some much-needed corrections, 
  • multiple shortcuts to opportunity, and
  • relational connections that I could NEVER have developed on my own. 

Leadership Lesson: Always be relationally passing on what you have learned.

“Take the things you heard me say in front of many other witnesses and pass them on to faithful people who are also capable of teaching others.”

(2 Timothy 2:2, CEB)

Here are two things that those who have had the most significant impact on my leadership life DID RIGHT:

1. Great Leaders Give Us Time

Some of the most instructive things I’ve EVER learned came (and still comes) from WATCHING how other pastors shepherd and love their people.

You are more than just what you know, and your followers need more than your advice – they need a context to SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE when you solve problems, engage conflict, or even relax.  

Right attitudes, postures, and ways of thinking are often more CAUGHT than they are taught.

Some of the people who follow you need to see the WAY you do things. Bring them along and give them the gift of integrity osmosis. 

2. Great Leaders Demonstrate Appropriate Affection

Who knows how many mildly-dysfunctional people are really just affection-starved?

Especially as a younger man in my twenties, I was too strong-willed for passive dudes (even godly dudes) to have much effect on me. 

In His mercy, Jesus sent me a few smart, TOUGH, older males who WEREN’T AFRAID to show me where I was wrong while still being ridiculously loving.

I am forever indebted to a few men who weren’t OVERLY touchy, but still demonstrated a brotherly tenderness that allowed the more challenging corrections to go into my heart – because I genuinely believed they loved me.

If you can, demonstrate appropriate affection to those you lead and mentor. 

Obviously, this expression needs to be appropriate and has to make sense within the context of the relationship (I.e., A cool mug, verbal affirmation, or an awkward side hug could ALL be right, depending on the relationship).  

However it makes sense, try to find a safe way to demonstrate warmth.  

You may never know what you’re fixing on the inside. 

What else have you found followers need from those who lead them? 

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Posted on August 29, 2018

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Bible Leadership is a ministry of Fierce Church.

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