A good friend of mine once said “as leaders we can be translucent without being transparent. While we may not be transparent and share all of the details in our life, we can be translucent. Things that are translucent blur images, but let the light through.” Strong leaders may not share all of their problems in detail, but they are wise to share them. However, if you’re going to be more influential, you need to share more than just your problems.
I’ve got problems. Boy, do I have problems. As a pastor there are never enough volunteers or resources. What a difference it would make if people who don’t give would just give $25.00 a week or sign up to volunteer for a service or two a month.
Not only do I have problems, there are goals not being met. It’s frustrating to talk about goals until you’re blue in the face and watch people drift meaninglessly when their lives could be changed by setting a simple goal and working toward it.
Then there are missed opportunities. Right now, our church has a small window of opportunity to become a vibrant spiritual destination in our community. Again, there are opportunities being missed, daily, to write checks and jump onboard for change and transformation.
Before I go any farther, please understand I am not complaining! These are just facts. Now lets talk about the relevance of these facts and how you can leverage your influence.
It’s been said people have three approaches to life. 85% of all people are problem solvers. The reason they are problem solvers is because in most cases they do not set goals or seize opportunities. That’s not knocking problem solvers! They make the world go ’round. Thank God for them!
The second group of people, 10 percent, set goals. They are organized and think in terms of the long-range. Not only do they set goals, they work methodically toward achieving them. They are somewhat rare in that they are able to stick with their plan and follow through. The results can be amazing.
Then there are opportunists. These are the 5% of all people who are constantly on the look out for rare opportunities. Opportunists are just as rare as the opportunities they seek! They may solve problems and they may set goals, but primarily they look for things many other people overlook. These are people like the scientist who recently raised funds, built equipment and got a crew together to look for a ship filled with sunken treasure. It took two years, but they found hundreds of millions of dollars in gold! Google it if you want the details. Opportunists appear to be fools in the eyes of most people.
So how do you increase your influence.
First, as a leader, don’t be afraid to share your problems, goals and opportunities with those you lead. Some of the best leaders do this and they have tremendous influence. Not sharing these pressing concerns is truly foolish. How can people help you if they don’t know there’s a need? Influential leaders don’t get their needs met by keeping them to themselves. They share them and give people the chance to help meet them. They understand that most people want to do the right thing and be of help. Remember, 85% of all people are problem solvers. So next time you pitch your agenda, the first group of people you want to address is problem solvers. Begin by saying something like, “This is the problem we’re facing….can any of you help me out?
Next, remember those who set goals. This is generally about 10 percent of your audience. So while you might want to take more time addressing your situation as a problem, don’t forget their are goal-setters out there. Think about some goals you could present that will help solve your problem and present them. Maybe you’ll say something like. “Our goal is to….” You get the idea.
Finally, don’t forget the opportunists. They’ve been snoring while you’ve talked about your problems and goals but the minute they hear the word opportunity, they’ll lean forward in their seats and there ears will perk up. Share the opportunity clearly. Help them to understand why it’s important to seize it.
So the next time someone, anyone, asks you how things are going, be truthful. Tell them about your problems, goals and opportunities and watch your influence soar. Most people want to be a part of something greater than themselves and when you keep everything to yourself as a leader, you rob them of opportunities to play a vital role.
If you’re looking to help your leader out, don’t be afraid to ask him or her how you can help. They won’t be mad, they’ll be glad! Chances are they’ve been waiting for you to help out. In most cases, they’re half-wondering if you really care. Take the first step. Show them you care. Volunteer. Help out. You’ll be amazed what happens when you do. We all have influence. The difference is we don’t all have opportunities to spend time with people who have more than we do. So if you want to be more influential, spend time with people who are more influential than you are and watch your influence soar!