Metron: The Measure of a Leader’s Influence


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‘Influence is to be measured, not by the extent of surface it covers, but by its kind.” -William E. Channing

It is one thing to be a leader, but what separates any leader from becoming a masterful one? At what scale does one have to influence to separate oneself from a group of good leaders? I believe it starts when a leader receives a transfer of trust from those they desire to lead. You cannot have influence without trust, and trust is built through love. It is crucial for leaders today to build trust or what I call creating “shares of trust” with those they desire to lead. This happens when a leader leads unselfishly, building value and virtue, exuding integrity and confidence in others as they move forward with the common vision. Trust leads to a shift in power. When a leader builds trust they also amass power, and this power is the leader’s impetus to lead others. This power is known as referent power, which is synonymous with influencing. Without influence it will be difficult to lead any type of group, organizational, civic or cultural transformation. A masterful leader, therefore, is one who exerts influence for the purpose of transformation through collaborative effort. This collaborative effort between leaders and followers is the key to moving a vision forward towards concrete results.

This idea of building and transferring “shares of trust” sums up the life and leadership influence of Jesus of Nazareth. A transfer of influence came from the heavenly Father to His son, then from Jesus to his band of twelve disciples, and from Jesus’ twelve followers this heavenly transfer has influenced and transformed pagan and religious cultures in nations for over two millennia.

Just what is influence? According to a Google search, influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something…” Influencerising.com views influence as “the ability to alter or sway an individual’s or a group’s thoughts, beliefs, or actions.”[i] In my view, influence is a personal catalog of transformative virtues emanating from within, which are expressed for the benefit and purpose of attracting others to engage in creating change and leading transformation. These qualities are a mixture of innate and learned abilities, which are cultivated over time, plus spiritual endowments bestowed by our Creator. In sum, influence is the original Law of Attraction for the purpose of wooing others, and persuading them to enter God’s flow or to fulfill a specific agenda.

An etymological search for the root meaning of the word influence revealed “a flow of water” or a “flowing into.”[ii] After reading this definition, my thoughts were immediately drawn to John 4:14, where Jesus provides us with a vivid picture of spiritual influence:

“Whoever drinks the water I give him (a flowing into) will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up (a flow of water) to eternal life.”

This inner release of “welling up” from within is the fountain of life people deeply yearn for. It’s the “well” of divine influence, which bubbles up from within you at the time of conversion and continues to manifest its divine stream of influence throughout your life, only if you stay on course to guard and nurture its precious flow. This divine influence is a person, not a thing or paradigm, who abides within you, releasing a supernatural flow of favor and anointing, while at the same time leveraging your talents, and gifts for influencing. It is one thing to have influence but how do you measure its effectiveness? Allow me to illustrate both natural and supernatural examples of influence.

Cultivating Influence

Influence is a gift and a study; it is acquired through learning and nurtured by growing. And, since you and I reflect both the spiritual dimension, as well as the physical dimension, we must learn to use our innate abilities given to us during the miracle of formation in our mother’s womb, as well as the spiritual endowments bestowed by our Creator upon our conversion. Therefore, for leaders seeking personal mastery, you and I must understand the painstaking effort of hours upon hours of disciplined study, learning and practicing their chosen craft to hone in the critical skills, abilities and talents required to build influence.

When you think of the great motivational speakers of our era, a few individuals come to mind. For me personally, I think of people like the late Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar, or Anthony Robbins, one of our contemporaries. Just how is their success measured? Is it measured by the thousands of people they have transformed by their uncanny ability to communicate life and leadership principles with clarity and flairs of humor? Can it be their charisma mixed with style of delivery? These great communicators of our day were not passive students of leadership by any means, but added value to people each day by being purposeful, engaging and being on the cutting edge of relevancy for their specific audience in time. These speakers, over a span of time, enlarged their capacities as great communicators in their area of expertise, which extended their sphere of influence throughout the business community, eventually becoming some of the pioneers of the personal development movement of the past half-century.

One thing is for certain, you cannot measure potential – only performance, since results carry the day over good intentions. We see this time and time again by people who have stretched themselves to enhance their personal and professional craft, which millions of Americans love and respect. Take into account, actors and actresses from the past and present, people like Jimmy Stewart, Marlon Brando, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and actresses of the likes of Bettie Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet. All these artists have something in common, they are known for their work ethic, on and off stage and screen, which is evident through many of their memorable and endearing roles. Their success can be calculated by applying various measures; their over-the-top box-office sales, their acting prowess, believability on screen, and by the accolades and honors received year after year at annual award ceremonies.

Divine Influence

As a minister, when I reflect upon contemporary influencers of the faith, I cannot help but think of the likes of Evangelist Billy Graham, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastors’ Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and Joel Osteen. From the inner well of the Rev. Billy Graham, we have seen a proven track record for soul winning and ministerial longevity. Bishop T.D. Jakes flavor is unashamedly communicating the truths of the gospel with persuasive and passionate preaching; Pastor Joel Osteen’s stream of influence is preaching a consistent message of positivity and hope, which attracts thousands of churchgoers and television viewers to hear his weekly messages. In addition, several millions of readers are drawn to peruse his books filled with life principles to live by. These modern day preachers’ sphere of influence is unique to each one, and can be measured by their personal integrity and ministerial longevity, and their masterful skills in communicating Biblical truth with simplicity, power and grace; each one is measured with a distinct style and substance.

In the book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, we are provided a list of heroes of the faith whose influence was measured by their simple deeds of faith. Faith was and still is God’s way of measuring success in the Kingdom, for without faith it is impossible to please God. These men and women of faith obeyed God’s call to serve their respective generation, which ushered them into a personal and glorious adventure. On many instances, their lives and contributions did not seem too inspiring, but their deeds glorified God, and this is the essence of expressing a divine influence.

You do not have to be an “outlier”, an extraordinary individual, to exert influence at a small or large scale. Influence can be exerted by anyone willing to pay the price for grooming personal, spiritual and professional mastery.

Influence is one thing but just what is a sphere of influence? And, just how does one begin to exert influence to enlarge their sphere? In the next chapter, I will define what a sphere is.

The Four Seasons of #Leadership


Your leadership development will go through four stages of change, much like the seasons of the year. This means that leadership development is cyclical in nature, changing with the times. For instance, how many of us have experienced a “dead end road” when leading others? No matter how we attempt to lead others nothing seems to work. It’s like we’ve exhausted our old methods of leading others, and need to reinvent our leadership style to meet the emerging challenges in the workplace. The reason for this leadership makeover is you have ended a leadership cycle, and a new way of thinking and leading is now required. This is why leadership seminars, Webinars, summits and conferences draw thousands of hungry leaders seeking new ways to reinvent themselves and their leadership styles. Allow me to use the four season’s metaphor to make my point:

Autumn:

This season represents the beginning of the end of your leadership cycle. In this season you begin to notice the leadership paradigm you once embraced and practiced is all the sudden becoming obsolete. Therefore, it’s time to shed your old leadership practices through a process known as pruning or shedding. A good example of this season is found in John 15:2, where Jesus notes, “My Father cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” The process of pruning is often times a painful process because what we used to know and do, is no longer needed for the next season of our lives. It pains us to shedd what we know, but the upside to pruning is moving into a new place of spiritual and leadership growth and fruitfulness.

Winter:

This season of your leadership cycle represents a dormant time when nothing seems to grow. This feeling of nothingness thrusts you into a time of deep introspection where you begin to reassess and recalibrate your inner being. In this dormant cycle you what you are really doing is redefining your new leadership style. We may think nothing is happening during this season but you are simply setting yourself up for what’s going to bud in the near future; it’s just taking a little longer than what you expected to enter into a new life cycle. The waiting in this season actually allows you to stop, mediate and recreate yourself.

Spring:

This season represents emerging growth, new life and vitality. The things you learned in the previous season are now taking root, and budding; a whole new understanding of leadership is opening up to you. A world you never thought possible. You may be a little hesitant at first to show your true colors because others will think, “Wow, what’s going on with him (or her). I never seen this attribute in him before.” However, good change is always contagious, and others are drawn to your newness of being and doing. You are re-establishing the Law of Attraction once again in a new way.

Summer:

Summer is the peak season of your new leadership performance. Your fruit as a leader is now evident to others. You must be careful, however, not to over do it in this season because growth is happening fast, and you could make mistakes along the way. Just as fruit takes some time to ripen before it is harvested, you must take strides to produce in conjunction to your growth. In other words, don’t over step your bounds because you may seem too cocky to others. Just know, in this state, you have received a new identity, and that identity is desired by others around you. You are now walking in a new stride.

Which season describes you at the moment?

The 5 Danger Signs of Compromise


A mentor is a catalyst for change in a young person’s life.” -Joel Garcia

A person seeks out a mentor for many reasons. In my experience, the most common reason is a person desires change but can’t achieve it alone.  The role of a mentor is to be a catalyst for change in a person’s life. They must first understand the struggles and obstacles in a mentee’s life, which are usually associated with what I call the Danger Signs of Compromise. Therefore, most mentees’ under your care will be going through some “trouble spots” in his or her life.

Once you have acquired a mentee, how do you go about discerning these trouble spots? The following “five danger signs” are examples of my mentoring experiences where I learned these danger signs. A mentor must understand the five “signs” of compromise if the mentoring process is to have some measure of success. A mentor is like a seer who perceives the danger ahead through:

1. Conversation – The first danger sign is evident by listening to a person’s conversation.

People will disclose vital information about their life if you just let them talk. A mentor must listen carefully by picking up on subtleties critical to a mentee’s journey. For example, if a person is disgruntled about their marriage, and speaks openly about it often, then a potential door opens to flirtation, followed by an emotional affair, and eventually consummating an adulterous relationship is highly possible. Adultery doesn’t happen over night; it’s a subtle process. An experienced mentor can perceive the possibility of this taking place.

2. Drifting Eyes – The second method in reading the danger signs is by watching your mentee’s eyes.

The eyes are the window to a person’s soul. A mentor should be look into the eyes of their mentee during every conversation. You can read a lot by watching someone’s eyes. Wandering eyes are a clue to what is steering them inside. A person with loose or wandering eyes has a lust problem and lacks self-control. Eventually, this problem can lead to poor relational boundaries or moral failure; it happened to a friend of mine.

3. Body Language – The third method of detecting a problem is by watching body language.

I learned this method by watching how teenage couples touch each other in public. The more intimate the touch in public the greater the likelihood of having consummated sexual intimacy in private. If they are showing physical demonstrative signs in public, like petting in the lower parts of the body, then how are they acting in private? I have seen this on two separate occasions but I was too late to warn them. A few months after observing these young couples I discovered, in both cases, the young female was pregnant (A lesson I learned the hard way. I won’t make this mistake anymore). Observation requires a degree of discernment to read the non-verbal language of others, and take appropriate action.

4. The Absence of Passion – The fourth sign to watch for is the loss of passion.

Watch for people who can’t find their passion or have lost it. When I teach at our weekly men’s Bible study I am looking around to see who is present and who is missing. This is my duty as a pastor to watch and discern what men are going through. When men lose their passion for righteousness they are not too far off from being consumed by other things.

5. Withdrawing – The fifth danger sign is withdrawing from others.

When you withdraw from others you tend to be vulnerable because you are less accountable and open to attack. God created us to be part of a community and not to live in isolation from others. Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV) reveals:

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

Those who withdraw from the safety of the group are really sending a message: they are withdrawing from key relationships, accountability, and wise counsel. Deep inside their soul they are devising their own agenda. Unfortunately, it leads them down the wrong path.

As a mentor you must have the courage to speak up when you perceive a potential problem. When you perceive a potential problem, communicate it in a fashion that others will pay attention. You may have to speak about it more than once. If your mentee does not heed your words, write them down and date your journal. If the problem surfaces down the road you will be able to show them that your input was overlooked. Maybe next time they will listen more closely.

Is there another “sign” that leads to compromise?

The 3 A’s of Capacity Building


Building capacity is essential for expansion in many areas; personal as well as professionally. Capacity is the place we create within ourselves to hold and sustain something greater. So how does a person increase capacity? First, you have to identify the lids that keep you static and remove these obstacles. Second, find the right people or institutions that can shape new thinking. Finally, you must act upon the new knowledge you gain, and gain new knowledge along the way. Building capacity is basically renewing our mind so we can believe in ourselves as to create and engage new opportunities that will challenge you to grow. I have found three essential principles for building capacity. First and foremost you need an honest assessment of yourself.

1.
Assessment

Before you can increase any personal or professional capacity you must assess yourself. Where do you stand today, and where do you want to be tomorrow? What gifts, talents and knowledge do you possess, and are you maximizing them? And what new experiences do you need in your life that will expose you to new knowledge? There are many types of assessments. I recommend a varied sample:

a. Personal or Life Assessment – This assessment requires a self-evaluation. Try taking a week or so, a total of 20 hours of silence to think about your life: Where do you want to be in 5 years from now? What is required to get you there? What people and resources will you need in your journey? What are your strengths/weaknesses? This evaluation will require an honest assessment. However, this is only the beginning, you will need other assessment components to complete this process.

b. Innate Gifts and Personality Assessment – Online offers many assessments; some are free, while others will require money. Many people don’t know “what” they have. I spoke to an adult male who sat at my table during Bible study, and asked him the simple question, “What are your spiritual gifts?” He simply answered, “I have been a Christian for 12 years and I don’t know the answer to that question.” Here are some online assessments:

c. Mentor Assessment – You will need to gather at least two or three assessments, not from your friends, but from three people who know you enough to give you honest feedback about your blind spots, character flaws, personal lids. Who qualifies? Individuals such as a pastor, your employer, a teacher or a mature person you know and respect. During this meeting you must come with a list of questions for them to answer, question such as… what they think about you and what they see in you, and your future.

2. Acumen

Education expands the mind and opens new portals of learning. Where can you go to gain more acumen for internal growth? Here’s my personal example. At the age of 44 I hit a personal barrier in my life, so I needed to find a new context for learning. So I acquired a master’s degree in the area of my passion, which happens to be the area of leadership/mentoring. So I searched out many colleges and universities and finally settled on Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For me it was an opportunity to integrate my faith with new knowledge. It took me four years to complete my Master’s Online but the new knowledge and relationships I acquired were second to none. I had excellent teachers who cared about my personal growth and were always helpful answering my questions and providing feedback during each course. One of my teachers continues being a personal friend and coach. We communicate through social media, email and phone calls. These relationships and insights gained, especially in the area of your life’s work are essential to increase capacity.

3. Action

Capacity increases through action. The story of Gideon comes to mind. In Judges 6:5 it notes:

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Gideon felt inadequate but capacity was to be gained along the journey through faith and action. Many people won’t start anything without having everything they need for the journey. This is not always true. Take for instance, the story of the Talents in Luke 19. The Noble gathers his servants and gives one five talents, the other two and the other servant his gives only one talent. Then he leaves on a long journey. There are no instructions given, no strategy was spoken about. He gave them different sums according to their existing capacity. Then the story quickly shifts to the Nobleman’s return, avoiding the strategies employed to increase their shares. The Nobleman expected an increase of the money left to each person. The one with the five came before him and gave him five more. The one with the two gave him two more… each one increasing their gains by 100%. The last one came with excuses and kept the money hidden for fear of personal failure. The moral of the story is about increasing capacity. As you are given responsibility, you are expected to increase the return within a period of time. Capacity was built along the journey through engagement, interaction, and transacting commerce along the way. It was through the process of engagement that increased their personal capacity. Capacity building requires action, and action creates capacity.

How do you build capacity? Have you used any of this three areas in your life to grow capacity?

Default Leadership: 3 Reasons Why Leaders Stop Growing


Personal and leadership growth go hand and hand, when you grow as a person it impacts the way you think and behave as a leader. The opposite is also true; when a person stops growing he or she conforms to familiar patterns, which become all too commonplace, predictable and sadly obsolete over time. Eventually, an emerging learning leader will pass you by because he or she is intent on acquiring new knowledge, which enhances their station as a leader in the eyes of others.

I recently spoke to group of High School students, and in the spur of the moment I took out my 3G iPhone to make a point about the need to reinvent our leadership style. As I held up my iPhone in my hand I asked the proverbial question, what is this? Most students raised their hands to answer my question, while others simply shouted out the answer – “It’s an iPhone!” I responded in the affirmative but added a crucial fact, “It’s just not any iPhone, it is the 3G model; the third generation of iPhones.” I continued making my point by asking a follow up question: “Why do iPhones go through a generational makeover?” Silence gripped the students. After a brief moment I answered my own question, “Because people get bored with the old ones.” The students then understood my point about the need to reinvent one’s leadership ability by assessing, creating change and transforming thinking and behavior on a continual basis. It is strategically advantageous to consider a leadership makeover from time to time, because your followers will eventually get bored with the old “leader.”


Leaders stop growing for many reasons. Some feel they “have arrived” to the place of their dreams, and simply have no need for further growth, while others stop growing because the effort to change is not worth their time and energy. And some leaders mistakenly feel they can create their own change apart from others.

After some dialogue with peers and professionals in the marketplace, I gathered some of their insights for this article. I then summarized my findings into three categories. Leaders stop growing for these reasons:

1. Success blinds them
Leaders at the top often deceive themselves by believing their own press; simply put, they have reached a level very few people ever achieve in the corporate or professional world, so what more is there to learn? Hence, they fall prey to the belief that there is no more professional growth required at this level. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Growth is required throughout life at all levels, especially when a person occupies positions at the highest levels of the corporate world. The sage advice from Pastor Rick Warren, one of the top leaders in the faith-based community reveals, “Leaders are learners. The moment they stop learning they stop leading.” Learning from others, mainly from subordinates, requires a level of humility greater than most leaders are willing to admit. In other words, success blinds those who seem to achieve top dog status. Leaders, at this level, must understand that success is not singular in form but rather manifests itself in the plural form. So what got them to the top may not necessarily be their own competencies but the willingness and effort of those around them to make him or her look good. Leaders must understaing that the best learning happens in community, not alone.

2. Pride gets in the way
Tim Erwin, author of the best seller Derailed notes, “The most foundational and most self-destructive” failure of one’s character “is arrogance.” This is the primary reason most leaders at the top stop asking for help. Why is this so? Some leaders are simply afraid to ask for help for fear of being stigmatized as being inadequate in their role. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Debbie Zois, co-owner and partner of Keller Williams Las Vegas Realty, “Asking for help is not showing signs of inadequacy – it’s smart! If you ask, you will simply get there quicker. If you don’t ask, you will never know what you missed. Sounds to me like you need to figure out your BIG Why! That will push you through a whole lot of things!” So what’s the solution? First, a leader must swallow a mouthful of hubris by understanding they play a minor role in comparison to the whole system. In other words, there are many more factors contributing to organizational performance. Once the leader embraces this view, he or she can see that learning begins by eliminating pride and seeing things from different perspectives.

3. They fear feedback
Some leaders are afraid of what others may find out about them so they avoid the facts about their leadership competencies all-together. According to Bill George, author of the book True North, leaders “reject the honest critic who holds a mirror to their face and speaks the truth. Instead, they surround themselves with supporters telling them what they want to hear. Over time, they lose capacity for honest dialogue, and people learn not to confront them.” The facts are the facts, if leaders are to genuinely reinvent themselves, he or she cannot avoid the facts.

Annual assessments are crucial for measuring effectiveness, especially the measuring device known as the 360 Degree Feedback Evaluation. The number “360” is an obvious term meaning a “full circle” where the leader or executive is measured from all angles; the top (supervisor or board members), on the side are colleagues (others of the same rank and stature), and underneath are direct reports (those who report to the leader), and perhaps other people known or unknown by the leader. The qualifying feature of this feedback technique is the leader-executive does not know “who” is involved in their evaluation; they simply receive anonymous feedback, which makes the data more transparent. Without a 360 Degree Feedback a leader cannot truly know what others think about their ability to lead effectively, and the areas requiring a tune up. Therefore, an “openness to feedback reflects our interest in being a learning, growing person.”

If you play a key leadership role in your workplace or have the need to go to the next level, then you are a candidate for a leadership makeover. I would also venture to say, if you are a leader and feel that you are at the top of your game, you will need to take a pulse of your leadership style more often. Leaders cannot afford to stay at the same place for very long. Reinvention is a process of constantly evaluating self in the midst of an internal and external changing environment, and making the proper corrections to change thinking, attitude and behavior. As soon as you stop growing as a leader you start diminishing in leadership effectiveness. Do not allow your development as a leader to be arrested at the top of your game; others are depending upon you.

Who provides feedback to you on a regular basis? Is coaching an option for your development as a leader?