How to Lead Without Being Bossy Part 2

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“He who thinks he leads, and has no one following, is really only taking a walk.”

– (adapted from a John Maxwell quote)


This is truly one of my favorite leadership quotes ever. As someone who can tend to get pretty bossy easily, I often have to double check myself to see if anyone is actually following my leadership or if I am just out on a walk by my lonesome.

Just because you or I have been appointed to lead or boss people around does NOT mean that they will want to follow us.

So here are some tips about leading and influencing people. I firmly believe that as a Christian we are all called to lead others to Christ in some capacity.

And if you haven’t yet read part one of this, go check it out. It will help all of this make more sense and benefit you more.  

1.   Your heart should ultimately be to serve.

Jesus, the greatest influencer and leader of all time, was also the greatest servant. He came to give us what we desperately needed, not necessarily what we wanted.

Romans 15:2 -3a TPT “Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. For not even the most powerful one of all, the Anointed One, lived to please himself.


2.     Be yourself

Be a blessing to people with what you are good at. I hate cooking so I’m not going to volunteer to teach people to cook. 

Learn from others and how they steward their gifts and how they lead people, but don’t try to BE them. You can only be a second-rate version of something else. God uniquely crafted YOU to be YOU.


Nothing downplays the gift on your life quicker than trying to be someone else.

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3.     Leaders are held to a higher standard.

 “live your lives in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.”Philippians 1:27a MSG

When I am late (guilty), or don’t pay attention, or text during the message, or have a bad attitude, those I influence notice.

As a leader, whatever I do in moderation gives those I lead license to do in excess.

4.     You reproduce who you are not just what you say.

Take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of your life and your spiritual walk on a semi-regular basis. I am rather chronically late. I know this partly because I have seen this reproduced in those I have influence over, so I am working hard to fix this habit.

5.     People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT jump into your local mentoring program, volunteer program, youth group, children’s church, etc and start barking harsh orders your first, second or tenth day there and expect people to follow you out of love (if they listen at all).

That MIGHT have worked 50 years ago when our culture was trained to honor those in authority simply because they were in authority, but not with today’s younger generation.

         It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4), so our leadership should be loving enough that people want to follow.

6.   Truly Godly influence is cultivated over time.

If I have not spent time investing in your life, loving on you, showing myself faithful, and getting to know you, I will not have as much influence in your life nor you in mine.  Anyone can talk a good talk but we NEED to BE people and follow people who walk a good walk.

7.   Would you do all that you do if it would only help ONE person? If the answer is honestly “no”, then you might need to re-evaluate your motives.

Yes, we are called to make disciples of ALL men, but that starts with ONE. Big platforms are great and I don’t think there is anything wrong with using savvy business techniques to reach more people. However, if you are performing for the masses rather than the one person, you are missing the point. 

8.  You are NOT the voice of God in their lives.

Bring a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Our goal should be to teach those under our influence to do what we do BETTER than we can do it. I want those I have influence over to learn to hear the voice of God for their lives sooner and better than I do.

The life altering direction you speak into someone’s life should be confirming what they already heard from the Holy Spirit.

Don’t you dare go around saying “you are called to this,” or “you are supposed to go here,” or {heaven forbid} “you are supposed to marry_____” without them having FIRST heard that from the Holy Spirit themselves. If you do, you are being an idiot. Repent and knock it off right now. Bless you.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14

9.     Pray for them. Pray for you. Pray for wisdom.

This really should be the first thing on the list.

I have seen tremendous and noticeable results when I consciously and consistently pray scriptural prayers for those that I have influence over. But I will be honest, this is not something that I have always been good about doing.  Get other people that you trust to pray for them too. Prayer works.

 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”   James 5:16b

If Jesus is Lord of your life, you are righteous, so your prayers ARE powerful and effective.


I encourage you to take stock:

Who influences you? Why? What did they do (or not do) that makes you want to emulate them?

What do you have that you can give and pass on?

What do you enjoy doing that could be a vehicle for serving others?

Who in your life could use a little extra love, a meal, time, or encouragement?

Do you truly love those you are supposed to be leading?