Leadership WITHOUT Leverage

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2019

After spending 12+ years in pastoral leadership and the one thing I've learned is that in order to truly lead people from a pastoral position you must have an extreme amount of personal leverage.

Leadership at its core is all about influence. If you are unable to influence someone you will be unable to lead them... i.e. THEY WON'T FOLLOW YOU! And the amount of influence you have with the person determines how much leverage you'll have over the person.

Now in certain enterprises, this leverage can be gained simply by the position you hold. For example, in the military, leaders can pull rank on a subordinate and, if all else fails, throw the person into the brig. In business, bosses have tremendous leverage in the form of salary, benefits, perks, etc. HOWEVER, in volunteer organizations, i.e. the church, the only thing that works is leadership in its purest form.

When working with volunteers, leverage is NOT based on your position. It's based on the time you've taken to invest in that person (i.e. personal influence). I've heard John Maxwell say "when working with volunteers, the only thing your position will buy you is time" --  time to develop personal relationships with those you lead.

And so the idea that people will listen to you because you're the pastor died the day you stopped investing in them!

Now the very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate. If a leader does not have influence -- i.e leverage -- he/she will be ineffective. Followers in volunteer organizations cannot be forced to get on board. If the leader has no influence with them, they just won't follow.

So if you're a pastor, use your positional influence to buy you the time necessary to develop your personal influence with those you lead. Taking this time is not glamorous and you'll receive no conference awards for it.  But its necessary because positional leadership does not work in volunteer organizations. Take it from me, I know!


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