There’s an inextricable link between who we are and how much influence we command. Being a world-class influencer begins by depending on God through prayer, and it continues on that foundation by being the type of person others are willing to follow. There are dozens of personal characteristics that cause people to be receptive to our influence. In study after study, honesty and trustworthiness top the list, usually followed by qualities as being competent, courageous, supportive, and caring, and having a clear vision for the future. Interestingly, such research is little more affirmation and echo of what we see in Jesus. Below are some of the qualities that Jesus had that had worked for me with my various roles that has helped me influence others. Perhaps, that is why he would simply say, “Follow me” and people would drop everything.
1. Authenticity– No one follows a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is the antithesis of influence. Sure, we’re each guilty of it to some extent, but that’s because we’re each humans. God calls us to be authentic, to be a genuine follower. He doesn’t expect perfection but faithfulness, a co-laboring with him to walk our talk, to be the same in public and in private, and to model the way for others.
2. Compassion- Why were people so drawn to Jesus? Why were they so deeply influenced by him? Over and over again in the gospels, we hear words to this effect:
“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately, they could see and they followed Him.” – Matthew 20:34
“He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.”- Mark 6:34
Compassion is more than empathy, more than feeling sorrow or pity for someone. Compassion is empathy in action, a feeling that moves one to actual service.
3. Honesty– This is a biblical mandate. God’s Word promotes honesty as an ideal from Mosaic Law through the Proverbs and on to the Sermon on the Mount.
“Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:16
“Don’t let your mouth speak dishonesty, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.”– Proverbs 4:24
“But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.'”– Matthew 5:37
4. Excellence– God wants us to do everything for Him. Everything. Here are examples of individuals who demonstrated a Spirit of Excellence. Daniel, whose work and intellect was so excellent that he was installed as prime minister under several foreign kings. David’s excellence in battle led to his ultimately being crowned as king of Israel. Then there’s Joseph, through his excellence in dream interpretation as well as administration, Joseph gained and maintained of position and power and influence in Egypt. Then of course there is Jesus, whose “teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29). Love God enough to work for him in all things, excelling at everything to which you put your hand. When we follow God this way, people naturally follow us.
5. Gentleness– When we think of influencers, we often think of charismatic leaders like generals or politicians or coaches or pastors who speak forcefully on the major issues off the day. But Scripture doesn’t any connection between charisma and influence. Instead, it calls us to influence through gentleness. Look at the vast majority of His interaction with people. He influenced people with patience- with a gentle nudge, a loving touch, a warm smile, a word aptly spoken. ” A ruler can be persuaded through patience, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) Through gentleness and patience, our wisdom book says, we can persuade those with key leadership positions, and we can diffuse an escalating situation.