Levers of Influence

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In my experience, anyone who leads has several “levers” through which they can exert influence in an organization. There is nothing particularly spiritual inherent in these as leadership tools. But spirituality makes a profound difference in HOW they are used.

1. Money – The spending of money is never morally neutral. A budget conveys values and priorities. The power to steer where resources are applied is a critical prerogative that a wise leader should not abdicate nor allow to wander far from his attention.

2. Recruiting – Whom we hire speaks volumes. In ministry, I believe the character, giftedness, passion and spiritual maturity of those we choose and draw close to us does more than anything else to determine the essential DNA of any organization.

3. Promoting – Eyes are always on who is sponsored into greater responsibility and who is tapped for what roles and positions of trust.

4. Public Persona and the Flow of Information – Communication is a powerful leadership tool whether it be written, spoken or visual. Even when aimed at audiences outside the organization, the boomerang effect can be enormous.

5. Evaluation Criteria – How we critique performance and results can exercise a huge effect on behavior. Such criteria translates what we believe and what we value into concrete action and accountability.

These five “levers” may all sound crass and even Machiavellian. But these are the realities of human relationships and are true whether found in government, business, families or religious movements. In the ministry realm, these are actually the means through which spiritual authority can be exercised and the blessing of God can flow. Conversely, they can be means through which abuse is perpetuated.

Anyone who is honest will find this to be true and can identify such levers of influence if they look closely at the life of any leader in any era, whether it is Mother Teresa, John Calvin, Martin Luther King, or Billy Graham.

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