In 1 Samuel 9 Saul’s servant has two ideas for Saul which were instrumental in Saul connecting with Samuel, and then in becoming king of Israel. As I reflected on this, I was reminded again that one of our greatest life assignments is to help our leaders be strong and victorious.
We don’t have to be the main leader to make a big difference. Aaron and Hur realized this in Exodus 17 when they held up the arms of a weary Moses. Their influence created a great corporate victory for the people. We can do the same.
Before I share five ways to influence your leaders, I want to clarify what I am not saying in this blog. I am not saying we are to try to influence our leaders to our personal agenda, but we are to be an instrument to help them reach their highest potential in life and influence.
Here are five ways to influence your leaders in profound ways:
- Know You Are Called to be Under Their Leadership – This will give us the ability to serve them in faith. If we doubt or are double-minded about being under their leadership, then we will most likely feel like a victim to the imperfections of the leader and the environment created by the leader. It is very difficult to influence positively if we have a victim mindset. The quality of our lives depends on our identifying what we believe God has told us in direction and promises (Matthew 4:4).
- Pray for Them – “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7). Something incredible happens when we invest in people or places through prayer. When we pray for our leaders, it benefits them and eventually us. Prayer also helps our hearts be tender toward our leaders.
- Honor and Encourage Them – Hebrews 10:24 says, “Consider one another to stir up love and good works.” The question to help us consider people in a healthy way is, “What do I like about this person?” When we identify this and speak out encouraging appreciation for our leaders, it helps us and them. People tend to not mind you moving their dirt as long as they know you are looking for gold in them. I am not saying we should stay in abusive relationships, but if we are called to a leader, then we can influence them through love and good words by truly considering their good points.
- Win Them to Yourself Before Winning Them to Your Words – “Without a word, (husbands) may be won by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). Wives are told to “win” their unbelieving husbands through their behavior so that the husband would respect what she says. In the same way, leaders will be much more prone to listen to people of integrity, excellence, humility, and victory. If our life is not something people can admire, then our advice and words will not be as powerful as they could be.
- Have a Life-Giving Plan in How to Communicate Ideas and Concerns – Here are some ideas on this: a) major in major issues and not be nitpicky about minor things, b) learn to give ideas in a way where the leader feels 100% free to accept it or not, c) give your leader the benefit of the doubt before concluding you understand the details of something that bothers you, d) don’t speak negatively about your leader to others, but go directly to them with your concerns, e) ask questions to make sure you understand, and f) if possible bring another unbiased person with you if you need to press in deeper into a matter with your leader (Matthew 18:15-17).
There are two things I felt the Lord tell me many years ago about my relationship to the leaders over me:
- How I relate to imperfect authority over me is one indicator of how ready I am to lead myself (consider David’s relationship with Saul in the Old Testament).
- Through my attitudes and behavior, I am planting seeds for how people will behave and think under my leadership in the future.
These two directives have impacted me greatly.
I believe that you are going to the next level in positively influencing the leaders in your life. For more on this listen to my podcast here.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.