Leadership experts agree: leadership is primarily about influence. Ken Blanchard puts it like this in Lead Like Jesus, coauthored with Phil Hodges: If you’re seeking to shape the development, thinking, or behavior of another person or group of people, you’re seeking to lead. You have in mind a better future for the person or group, and you want to influence (lead) them into that future.
Many of you reading this blog post are leaders – people who influence opinion and practice on a micro (few people), mezzo (organizational) or macro (national/global) level.
Like most leaders you desire to get more from your leadership efforts. Why not try what ministry and leadership coach Steve Ogne calls 4-wheel drive influence? According to Ogne, it will help you get better traction with those you lead.
Ogne observes that followers grant leaders the right to lead based on four main sources of influence: positional, expert, relational, and ethical authority (writing primarily to church leaders, he refers to this last category as spiritual authority). Positional authority is granted to those in charge – the parent, boss, or captain of the team. They lead because they're in charge, but positional authority tends to get the poorest traction, at least at the heart level.
Expert authority is granted to those who are especially proficient at what they do or in what they know about a given topic. Followers listen to the experts because of what the experts know or can do.
Relational authority comes from the time leaders spend connecting with, getting to know, and serving those they lead. Relational authority is especially helpful to leaders who desire to connect with followers at the heart level and influence them more deeply than positional or expert sources are able to do.
Finally, ethical authority grows out of a leader’s character. Followers grant leaders ethical authority when they observe honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness in leaders’ lives. Church leaders may also possess ethical authority, or, as Ogne notes, spiritual authority. Spiritual authority is granted when followers sense something different about the leader’s heart and character. Spiritual authority comes from experiences with God, knowledge of God, and gifted power (see the New Testament letters: Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12-14, 1 Peter 4).
Ogne says if we lead from a couple of these sources, we get 2-wheel drive leadership. Work toward all four, however, and we get 4-wheel drive. If we're leading from all four wheels, our traction increases and we see greater fruit from our efforts.
How much traction are you getting with those you lead? 1-wheel, 2-wheel, or more? Which wheel needs the most work right now?