Why influence is a key to Leadership

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Our house burned down when my siblings and I were still very little. It was late at night when my mom woke up from a loud commotion coming from our second-floor window. Barely awake, she stumbled towards the window. As soon as she opened her eyes, most of our neighbors were running up and down the street carrying their items. Parents had their children in tow. The little ones could hardly keep their eyes open, embracing their pillows trying to keep up with their parent’s rapid strides.

My mom shouts to the frantic crowd asking ‘what’s the matter?’ An elderly man in his boxing shorts and plain white shirt points up towards the direction of our roof shouting ‘fire’. My mom shakes my dad so hard that he falls off the bed. With a loud ‘thud’, he angrily wakes up. In less than five minutes, we were all out of the house.

As we watched from the street, we witnessed the fire from the neighbor’s rooftop slowly crawl to our rooftop. Out of the blue, our Iranian neighbor appears in front of us. Masood, a dental student, living with his wife two blocks away from us. As soon as he heard about the fire, he rushes over to see if we were okay.

Watching the fear and concern on our faces, Masood talks to three bystanders. The second time I turned to look at them, Masood and the group was running towards our home. The group braved the fire. By now, our roof was on fire. One by one they hauled our appliances and furniture out of our home. One of the by-standers stood to watch over our things. In less than thirty minutes, they brought out as many things as they can. By now, the fire traveled down to the first floor. There was no way anyone can enter our house.

Looking back years later, I share this testimony as proof that anyone can lead. Masood was not your typical textbook ‘leader’ with a great job title. He was a foreign student who influenced three Filipinos to join him save as much of our belongings as possible.

If you influence others, then you are a leader. I am not talking about dictatorship or leading using fear. These people are not influencing. People follow them simply because they have no other choice. People are following them until they find a new job. People are following them because they need their pay. People are following them thinking they have no choice.

Real leaders can influence others to follow them onward toward their vision. This ability can be inborn or developed. Leadership is primarily about effectively influencing others. You don’t need a fancy job title to be a true leader. All you need is the skill to influence others.


From 12 unlikely leaders come 2.3 billion believers and growing

Since I was a young supervisor, I hear about this common misconception that leaders are born or went to the best schools. So goes the theory that you are either born a leader or not. From my experience, I beg to differ.

Yes, there are people who are born leaders. However, that far and few in between. The rest of the great leaders of our time had to learn it. Of course, you have to want to learn and practice the right leadership principles. Allow me share a story that supports why I think that leadership can be learned.

August 15, 2020 7pm started as a normal fellowship for our Victory Group. That Saturday was a little different than our previous Zoom fellowship. That night, our Bible Study group discussed a brief lesson from a very interesting topic – Lead Like Jesus.

The members of our Victory group comes from all walks of life. For everyone in the group, we are all equal. We are all leaders in our own way. Some of us are leaders by designation in our jobs. All of us are leaders by the roles we play in our family structure. Some of us are leader Dads, leader elder brothers, leader uncles, leader cousins and so on. Our role leadership is something we are born into. We cannot easily turn our backs on our role leadership.

In the course of our 90 minute fellowship we touched upon two kinds of leaders that began over 2,000 years ago. On one corner, you have the powerful Roman empire led by Emperor Augustus all the way to Emperor Marcus Aurelius. On the other corner you have a carpenters son leading twelve disciples. If I  could time travel back to those days, I would have imagined that the Roman Empire’s leadership would have carried the empires dominion all the way to present day.

Ironically today, the Roman Empire no longer controls the 50 countries it did before.

On the other side; Christianity, under the leadership of Jesus and the twelve disciples has ballooned into 2.3 billion believers or 31.2% of the worlds population. Talk about successful and sustainable leadership.

Let’s see what the disciples were doing before they were called and trained by Jesus. Thomas and Bartholomew were possibly fishermen. Philip, James (the son of Alphaeus), and Judas (Thaddaeus) were tradesmen. Andrew and Peter were fishermen. James and John were possibly businessmen. Matthew was a tax collector. Simon was a zealot or someone that was passionately against the Jews.

These twelve disciples learned important leadership principles from Jesus in the years prior to the great commission. This Great Commission, lead by the Jesus disciples, has transformed the lives of billions of people for over 2,000 year and is still continuous to grow.

If these unlikely twelve was able to lead, so can you. Anyone can lead provided you understand the leadership principles the disciples learned (and practiced) from Jesus.

So here my friend is proof that anyone can lead.