05 Sep She Must: How Women Can Maximize Influence as Leaders
Leaders influence. Influence either has a positive or negative impact on others. John Maxwell defines leadership as “influence: nothing more, nothing less.”
I consider it a great privilege to live in a time and culture where one would even be asked to share her thoughts on women in leadership. As a woman who has been entrusted positions of leadership both inside and outside my home, I take that influence very seriously. I’ve been richly blessed by the influence of some very strong women in my life. As a mother of three girls, I hope and pray to set a mold of leadership they each can follow—resulting in an extraordinary influence that brings God glory. For a girl to rise to such an opportunity, there are a few things she must have imparted to her along the way.
She must be told she can.
Today, women have more opportunities to lead and influence our world than ever before. The glass ceiling keeps rising, but today the biggest obstacle that holds a woman back is her feelings about herself. For a woman to believe she can, she must hear a message louder than the one our culture speaks to her. A voice that says:
“Your worth is not a number on a scale.”
“Your mind is powerful enough to change the world—develop it!”
“Your heart was created with a unique depth for compassion, let it fill and move you to act!”
When women embrace the unique qualities of femininity that are wired into us by our Creator, we weave threads of beauty, strength, compassion, and wisdom into the tapestries of our homes, organizations, churches, and society.
She must be courageous.
Courageous enough to fail. Courageous enough to risk. Courageous enough to face down rejection. Courageous enough to be authentic. Influencing others is earned; others must know the heart and character of a leader if they are going to trust her. To be known well enough to be trusted requires vulnerability, and vulnerability requires courage.
We can embrace courage when we are secured that our value is not determined by our performance; our value is determined by our calling. She is a child of God; His “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
She must decide who she will follow.
All who lead must also follow. Who we follow has a significant impact on who we are leading, so we must choose wisely who we will follow. In our human search for significance, we are all trying to define who we are, what our brand is, where our influence reaches. We look to others to help us put that picture together and hope it’s something we can end up being proud of. We may look to our culture to extract an image of the kind of influence we want to have.
Hopefully, we have a few real relationships with people that have qualities we want to emulate. I think we can all agree that the type of people we truly desire to become are those that move past cheap idols of culture and surface-level accomplishments that fade quickly with the next day’s news feed.
Great leaders have a lasting influence on a person’s life. Sometimes, it shapes the trajectory of a family; sometimes, it reaches into future generations; and sometimes, it goes beyond life’s borders and affects a person’s eternity. That kind of leadership only happens when we empty ourselves—all our desires, plans, and ambitions—and align with our calling to build lives that lift up and glorify our Savior in a way that others are drawn to his lovingkindness and grace. For that, there is only one blueprint to follow:
“Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)
Angie Bates attends Legacy’s Olathe Campus where she serves in one of her favorite weekly roles as a Sunday School Teacher for her beloved 3-year-olds. She resides in Olathe with her husband (Aaron) and three daughters—Sophia (8), Stella (6), and Samara (4). She is a Market Leader of Movement Mortgage, a Top 10 National Retail Lender, and has a passion to see corporate industry connecting to the needs of communities.