Whether it’s our kids, spouse, a friend, a coworker, a loved one… whomever it is… we have influential leadership with the people around us. Even if THEY lead us, we have the ability to lead UP – to help them grow and become better leaders. Here are just a few ways to do so:
1) Time – we can’t expect people to change overnight; so don’t make people feel as if they’re working against a Boggle time counter (remember that little hour-glass thingy?? Ugh! How many 5+ letter words did YOU used to get? lol!) Change takes TIME. Make sure your actions convey that you understand that. In order for people to change, they have to develop better habits, and that takes time and hard work. Yes, they have to do the work… but the time factor cannot be manipulated.
2) Freedom – this is CRUCIAL, especially if they have blown it and are on a “comeback.” Although we don’t EXPECT people to fail, we do need to give them the freedom to do so as they are learning to develop new habits and different mindsets. When you were young(er), did you ever have to perform in front of a crowd? How nerve-wracking was THAT?! If it didn’t bother you, if you weren’t nervous, YOU ARE NOT NORMAL, lol. Most people get a little nervous, knowing that all eyes are on them. Even people (like myself) who thrive in those situations still get nervous… because there is little room for error! How, then, do you think those we are helping to grow feel when they know they’re being “watched”., as if they’re living in a fishbowl.. when they know that eyes of scrutiny are judging their every move, and there seems to be little room for error? I wrote about my relationship with my manager in a recent post… we had a crazy, tension-filled relationship until just recently, and things have thankfully turned a corner for the better. We “check in” often, and yet I also make sure she knows that I KNOW she will have some moments where she reverts back to her old self. When that happens, we will deal with it… but how gracious I am with her BEFORE that happens will go a long way in padding her fall backwards. We need to always give people a soft place to land WHEN they fall. Because they will fall (and, er uhhh… so will you.)
3) Encouragement – Encouragement is God’s native tongue… and so it should be with us, as well. Growth happens at a much quicker clip in an environment of encouragement. So, be INTENTIONAL about handing out gracious doses of it. Think about your own life: God saved you, and never left you to yourself to “figure it out.” You’d be dead in the water, baby! lol! No, He constantly encourages us and madly loves on us, and never makes us feel like we have to “perform”. In fact, if you think about it, doesn’t it seem like we can feel His love the most when we haven’t been “lovely”? Sure, He lets us know His expectations (“Be holy, for I am holy”) and He sets standards for us… but it is always couched in love and favor for us. We KNOW God is for us! And so it should be more than evident to people that we are FOR THEM, as well.
4) Prayer – You wanna see some awesome change in the lives of those around you, of those you love? PRAY MUCH FOR THEM! In fact… and you need to ponder on this, because it might convict your socks off… as a believer, how much you love a person and want to see their success will determine how much you pray for them. BOOM!!! You really love and care for your kids, your spouse, your significant other, your loved ones? PRAY YOUR BUTT OFF FOR THEM!! Or, as my friend Jody Jennings would say, “pray BUTTLOADS” for them! It will really make a difference.
This is how we lead (as well as follow). This is how we help people grow. This is how we spur those we love on to greatness… TIME, FREEDOM, ENCOURAGEMENT. AND PRAYER… they all go a long way in our influencing others to change!
Just some thoughts from a fellow influencer. 😉