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Watch Out for Flying Elbows

A leader can only be as affective as his ability to develop influence with followers. Influence must be developed and cannot be demanded. Successful leaders are the ones who are willing to put in the hard work necessary to develop the kind of influence that will motivate people to accomplish there goals. John Maxwell develops this idea with his stages of influence from his book: Becoming a Person of Influence. He states: “Influence … doesn’t come to us instantaneously. Instead it grows by stages.” The progression looks like this: Modeling, Motivating, Mentoring, Multiplying. Maxwell further supports this idea that influence must be developed and not demanded by asserting: “Leadership (which is a specific application of influence) is at its lowest level when it is based on position only. It grows and goes to a higher level as you develop relationships with others.” Demanding as opposed to developing influence is not only non-productive, it can also be hazardous to your health as is humorously noted by Marshall Shelley in his book: Empowering Your Church”: “I quickly found that the more a leader pressures followers to adopt an innovation, the more resistant and resentful many become. If you twist the arm of someone unmotivated to support an idea, you get an elbow in the chops.”