If you are leading people and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just going for a walk.

People need to be inspired to follow. Sometimes they can be forced, but more times than not, they need someone they believe in and can trust. People watch a leader and whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, they do what the leader does. They emulate the leader. If he/she comes in late every day, guess what, the people will come in late every day. If the leader says one thing but doers another, people notice. If the leader says don’t do this or that and turns around and does this or that, he/she can’t be disappointed when the people they are trying to lead do what he/she does.

Think of people you respect and may even want to pattern your life after. The thing all of them probably have in common is the don’t just talk a good game, they lead by example. Leading by example is probably the most impactful way to influence other people. Make no mistake, the greatest leaders have influence. It is a gift that is very valuable and there have been many people that had great influence and then squandered it through bad choices. Once you lose it, it is almost impossible to get it back.

Andy Stanley talks about the story we will tell of our life. To hear him say it, we all will have a story to tell our grand children about our lives and it is good is there are not parts we must leave out because of bad decisions. We all know Hollywood actors, athletes, politicians and even religious leaders that had great influence and could have accomplished great things but made bad choices that cost them their influence. After that they are most known by their mistakes and not the message.

Choose well and if you are a leader and have some influence, be careful to protect it, shield it and insulate it from harm because it is a gift. KT

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