Abusing intimacy to gain influence isn’t leadership …

Long ago, I heard a good piece of advice for leaders, which is really good advice for anyone:

“If you won’t love them, don’t hurt them.”

In the non-stop discussion about leadership among church leaders today, we like to say leadership is influence. So many leaders hold as their key priority the capacity to influence the people they lead. But there’s one way in particular that leaders abuse that influence, and that’s by building intimacy only for the purpose of gaining influence.

Some leaders are willing to demonstrate a semblance of love to achieve a foothold of influence in a life.

That’s not love. That’s emotional manipulation.

If you have no intention of truly loving those you lead, don’t pretend to care just to gain influence. Just work from your position or title and get as far as you can that way. To pretend to love when you only want to manipulate is to use intimacy to achieve your own purposes among others.

That isn’t leadership.

That isn’t ethical influence.

And that certainly isn’t love.

Instead of being so concerned about “leading” and influencing others, make your priority one of loving them. You might be surprised how great your influence in their lives might become if you really loved them like Jesus loves us. And maybe it’s more of that kind of talk we need to hear in leadership circles if we really want to be effective in serving others in Jesus’ name.