I first heard this quote from John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” If you don’t have influence you can’t be a leader. So if you have influence with anyone, you are a leader. If you’re married, a parent, have a job, serve on a committee, play on a team or have friends your a leader. Some people have obvious leadership positions and oversee or lead a large number of people. While others may only have influence with a few people or their immediate family. No matter how many people you have influence with, there are some essential qualities when it comes to leadership and developing increased influence. These essentials will help you at work, at home and in the community, wherever you have influence.
- Trust – This is first on my list because without trust you have very little influence. Being a trustworthy person is required to lead well. When trust is broken it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to restore it. When people trust you they will follow you, even when they don’t understand everything. To build trust you must be honest, open and vulnerable with people. If you keep secrets from people close to you or you are not honest about what is going on, people begin to lose trust. In every encounter with people you are either building trust or losing trust.
- Humility – This is second for me because this helps develop trust. When you are humble you acknowledge that you don’t know everything and that you have weaknesses. You give credit to people that deserve the credit and you are willing to serve the people around you instead of being served. Humble leaders know they need help from others in order to achieve the vision, whether in a business, church or family. Humility helps you to have the right perspective, while pride can blind you from potential problems.
- Love – This may sound strange for an essential of leadership, but it is vital to love other people if you want to have influence. As a leader love is the key ingredient to gain influence. When people know that you care about them as a person they will follow you and go above and beyond for you. People can quickly tell if you care about them or not. The Bible describes love this way: “Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails.” When you genuinely love the people you lead your influence skyrockets.
- Clarity – The reason this is an essential is because if you are not clear in your communication it leads to misunderstandings and conflict. The ability to clearly communicate expectations, goals, problems to be solved and issues to address is vital to good leadership. People trust and follow leaders that are clear and direct while doing so in a loving, kind way. It is also important to ask questions and try to understand where the other person is coming from or what they are trying to say. So part of clarity is the ability to listen to understand. When you do that you can respond in the right way and avoid unnecessary conflict.
- Empathy – This is the last essential that I am listing but it’s equally important in building influence as a leader. The ability to see things from the other person’s viewpoint is essential in order to lead and influence them. To empathize with someone you must slow down, listen well and not jump to conclusions or judgement. It is basically putting yourself in their shoes. Empathy will help you to be more compassionate when you need to be and resolve conflict much quicker. This also helps to build your connection with the people around you because they know you are always willing to hear them out and be there for them when they are going through a struggle.
I could include many other things but these five essential qualities give any leader the foundation needed to increase their influence and therefore their leadership. For me I need to ask God for help in all of these areas. Everyone can improve in these essentials and when you do you become a better person and a better leader.
When it comes to communicating with your spouse or anyone you are close with, the five love languages are a great place to start. If your spouse feels loved then communication tends to be better and easier. If they do not feel loved, communication will breakdown.
So let’s take a look at the five love languages. You can read more about these in Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages
- Words of Affirmation
A compliment speaks a Thousand Words! – It’s nice to get compliments from your co-workers, your boss, your friends, your parents or your children, but nothing compares to a compliment from your spouse.
- This love language helps encourage and give courage to your spouse.
- If it’s their main love language a simple compliment or word of encouragement can fill a tank for days.
Control that Biting Tongue – Words can kill, damage and destroy.
- Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
- Proverbs 12:25 An Anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
- Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
- Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
- James 3:8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. Read that whole chapter!
Dispel Dominance – Real love makes requests, not demands.
- When you tell your spouse what needs to be accomplished and do so by lashing out over-assertive words, even if you mean well, you will make your spouse feel Stupid and your words seem to belittle their know-how.
- But if you make a humble request to your spouse, you are affirming their worth and abilities.
- Quality Time
- Being close does not mean being together.
- Togetherness involves more of a connection than just being in the same room or the same house.
- Togetherness is when you are paying attention to each other while your together. Your giving your full focus, your fully present and engaged and listening.
- It doesn’t mean you have to always be talking, it could be having a conversation and then going on a walk together, or watching a favorite TV show together or wash the dishes together or prepare food together.
Talk less, listen more
- Ask questions and make sure you are paying attention. For men, don’t try to fix things, just listen repeat back some of the things she is saying and ask some questions if needed.
- A great way to allow for this to happen is to ask your spouse how their day was and then shut up and listen.
- Your spouse needs to be able to talk to you about what’s going on in their world – at work, at home with the kids, with family or friends.
- Just 5-10 minutes of this can change the entire evening and atmosphere of the home.
- Receiving Gifts
Gifts: a Remembrance, a Symbol of love
- Gifts can make a spouse feel important, cherished and sweetly remembered.
- If this is a primary love language this will make his/her day and make them feel special, loved and secure.
- It’s not as much how much you spend, it’s the fact that you thought about them and took the time to get them something.
- It’s knowing your spouse well enough to know what they really like
The Gift of Self
- Sometimes you need to give the gift of yourself by being fully present for your family.
- Acts of Service
In Everything you do, do it for Love
- A husband helping with household chores like laundry, doing dishes, cleaning the house, taking care of the children etc or a wife fixing a leaking pipe, mowing the yard, fixing an appliance.
- These need to be things that are not you normal household duties that you have agreed on.
- Again it is when you notice something that needs done and do it without being told.
- It sends a message that you are important to me, our home is important to me, our children are important to me.
- Physical Touch
Hold her when she cries
- This can be hard for most men as they don’t know what to do when she is upset.
- A loving husband will not turn and leave, go smoke, get a drink or give a lecture – he will hold her in a tight embrace, run his fingers thru her hair, maybe kiss her head, stroke her hand and make her feel safe in the power of his arms.
- A physical touch can make or break a relationship – It can communicate love or hate
Touch as if it’s always the first time
- Touch gives an emotional boost
- It keeps the fire ablaze – is soothing and healing
- For men physical touch includes sex but more than just the act of sex it’s the touching by both along the way.
- Slow down and enjoy each other.
- Just like a child needs physical touch in order to develop, adults need touch to stay emotionally and mentally healthy.
Talk to your spouse about what their love language is and what yours is
Tell your spouse what is most meaningful to you – don’t make them try to figure it out – (Women)
All of these are important even if it’s not a primary language
Start today, tonight before you go to bed.