Hi, this is Bernie Dake.
Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum, and I'm here with my cohost for this series, Steven Nolan. Hi, Steven. Hey, I'm excited to be here.
Oh, we're so glad you're here. Well, last week we launched a new series on leadership with Major John Murphy and Bethany Farrell. In this episode, John shares a principle that's at the heart of this series. Yeah, so the principle that he taps into in this episode is that we all have some kind of influence. Either that means influencing those that are under us, those who surround us, and even those who are above us. How do we impact those who lead us? Wow, that's a really interesting concept because that really denotes the fact that leadership is more than just management, right? It isn't management.
It is not being a boss, but it is having that influence even with those who perhaps are leading you. So that's a very interesting concept to think about, and I can't wait to hear him unpack it. We hope you're enjoying this series already. If you've missed last week's episode, you can listen on your favorite podcast store or visit salvationarmyradio.org. For kids at The Salvation Army, a meal isn't just a meal. It's fuel for imagination, determination, and dreams. It's energy to be role models, change makers, and to just be kids. With your gift, a full meal means a full heart, a full night's sleep, and a future full of possibilities.
Give $25 a month to show local kids love beyond hunger at salvationarmyusa.org. Major Murphy, we're back for session two of Everyday Leadership. Yeah, certainly. Good.
I'm excited to hear it. Today's topic I see is called The Shape of Leadership. Yeah, leading as influence, and we've kind of alluded to this. You did a little bit before about positions, and I think this is where we really kind of move away from that perhaps in people's thinking, because hopefully, hopefully.
I believe there are a large group of people out there that are kind of waiting, right? When I get here, when I get here, then— It's almost the aspiration, right? Yeah, yeah. Well, I need to be at this next level to be a leader. Exactly, exactly. Then, you know, God is going to put me in a place where I can really have an effect, and we miss so many opportunities when we do that.
We really do. Well, tell me what you mean by that. Let me tell you a story about my first job. Oh, okay. I actually had it twice. Twice? The same job? Yes.
Okay. I didn't get fired or anything. I probably should have a couple times, but I had the first job twice. We had a family friend when I was in high school named Cliff, and he and his family bought an RV campground in Arkansas, in the mountains of North Arkansas, a recreational vehicle campground. I don't know how we talked him into it.
It was me or my dad. I just remember he was at our house one weekend just talking to us because we were friends, and he was going back to the campground, and I ended up in the vehicle going back with him. He had hired me for that summer, right? Oh, for the whole summer. For the whole summer.
Bada-bing, bada-boom. Okay. Exactly. Now, I had no experience in RVs or campgrounds or running a camp store, anything like that, but as it turns out, I didn't need any because you can imagine what I ended up doing was cleaning the bathrooms, right? Those kind of things, mowing the substantial amount of grass that's at an RV campground, cleaning the pool, emptying trash cans, nothing major. Gruntman. Exactly, but he taught me through those entire two summers, and his confidence grew, and eventually I felt secure, or he felt secure enough in me to leave for the weekend with his wife, and it was me and his daughter, and we ran that place for two days.
I believe it was two days. In my mind, he is an example of a tremendous leader. He really is, and I'll tell you a little more later on, but I'm sure you've heard many definitions of leadership over the years. I have heard a lot, and I've seen a lot of different types of leaders.
Yeah. What are some of your favorite definitions? I don't know if I want to say favorites.
I have one favorite, okay, and we'll spring it a little later, but let me just give you these three. Leadership is about the ability to drive results, set the vision, and share it, create an environment of success, and remove obstacles. I've sat under some of those ideas. Yeah. Yeah, okay.
Let's talk about this one. The most basic definition of leadership is you set the destination, you come up with a strategy to get to that destination, and do your best to align and supply the resources to make it happen, and here's one I really like for various reasons. Leadership is getting people to willingly go someplace they wouldn't go themselves.
Leadership is getting people to willingly go someplace they wouldn't go themselves, pushing them farther than they might push themselves, in other words. Yeah, I think so. I can't read that without smiling a little bit, though.
It just sounds a little kind of sneaky, right? These aren't bad definitions, not at all. There's some very good things in here, and they may be helpful to a lot of people and to us as well. However, I don't know about you. When I hear these, when I listen to them being read or when I read them myself, my thoughts turn to CEOs running multinational corporations or something.
That's kind of the direction I go when I look at those. I begin, whether I want to or not, to associate leadership with some sort of position, right? Now you're here, this is your job description.
This is what you've been brought up to this place to do, and I think that's not helpful, honestly. Bethany, have you heard of Alfred P. Sloan? I do not recognize that name.
No, you don't. I thought he was a household name. General Motors fame, one of the architects of what we now call General Motors, combining all of those car companies into one. He's written a great autobiography. I really enjoyed it.
I'm kind of a car nut a little bit, and so it was interesting in that respect, but I think you'd enjoy parts of it. But he said this. Are you ready?
I'm ready. Rank, let's say position, okay? I'm going to interchange those two. Rank or position does not confer privilege. It does not give power. It imposes responsibility. I like that, especially that last part.
I always pause and kind of emphasize that. It imposes responsibility. We could spend a lot of time on that little short statement, but what I remind myself, and I'd like to have other people here, is when we talk about positions in leadership, we always want to seem to go there, right, as we said before. But what positions do are they make demands on us. Positions make demands on other people. They impose responsibilities. Being given a position or having a title or being in a specific chair is not bad.
It just doesn't guarantee influence. Well, I remember one of the first times I was given a leadership opportunity, quote unquote, as a young adult, probably an older teenager, and I remember just being so fond of the leader who had gone before me and so excited that now this is my role. And I remember feeling frustrated that I wasn't receiving the same respect or admiration because I'm in this role now.
Why don't I get this? And it took a while for me to finally realize just because I'm the leader doesn't mean I have that same influence that she had taken time to cultivate and really grow and deserve in how she treated the team and not what she expected from the team. Bethany, I heard through the grapevine that you know a bit more about salt than you did just a little while ago. It's a very strange story. But for whatever reason, recently my husband and I, so we own a little farmhouse, a little getting into homesteading just a little bit, just a fun little hobby.
We have four kids. It's not like we have free time, but we are just interested in these things and trying things the way they used to be done. And one of those is food preservation. And more specifically, this week it's been in making sauerkrauts where you take that humble cabbage and you add salt and you knead the salt into this cabbage and you leave it sitting with, you know, a little bit of other stuff that's happening. And it becomes, after a couple of days, it goes through this fermentation process and now you have a very healthy, pungent food that's, it's a superfood and it's good for you and you should eat it every day. And it just comes from, again, a humble, bland cabbage and a little bit of salt. That's a wonderful story. I can tell you honestly, I'm not going to eat sauerkraut every day.
My husband probably won't either. We're very familiar, all of us, with that scripture verse from Matthew chapter five, in Matthew chapter five, where Jesus says, you are the salt of the earth. I think you hit a couple of those. There are multiple things that salt does, but I think you hit a couple of them very well. Early in Israel's history, Moses explained how they were to offer sacrifices to the Lord. This is from Leviticus 2 13. You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering. With all your offerings, you shall offer salt. Salt was a necessary component of all Israelite sacrifices and it even represented God's relationship, His covenant, to them as well.
I think in all those ways, when you look at leadership and think about influence, we are salt, right? Peter Litheritt writes, the world is an altar. Humanity and the world are to become a single great offering to God. As we offer ourselves an obedient suffering self-sacrifice, we become the seasoning on a cosmic sacrifice that makes it well pleasing to God. So early on, we had some quotes from leadership. Let me give you my favorites. Okay.
Kind of held it to this moment. If I can, Christian leadership is a servant oriented relational process whereby those who lead under God's leadership using their God-given capacity seek to influence others towards a kingdom honoring goal. Now, since leadership is influence in a specific direction, and when we take position out of the equation, we're not concerned about where actually we are, if we have a title or a position, then I see it as being free to utilize wherever we have been placed to impact others for the kingdom.
How so? We can influence down, right? Which is more the standard understanding of influence.
Exactly. Traditional view, our children, we're influencing or leading our children, subordinates, those who come to us seeking guidance or assistance, right? We can do that. We can also influence or lead across. I have peer pressure. Yeah. Positive peer influence, positive peer influence.
There you go. And the last one, which we don't think about or maybe we're a little concerned or afraid of, I think we're called to lead or influence up as well. We're called to speak into our leaders. We're called to lead those who lead us. We're to provide guidance, give our aid to those who are responsible for our wellbeing, for our productivity, we could even say. There's a tremendous opportunity for us to lift up those who are actually in charge of us in that respect. What are our action points for today? What can we do today?
What can we do? I like the one because I don't want to complicate it. So think of one individual in each group. So that's three individuals, right? Think of one individual in each group. Somebody down, somebody across and somebody up, down, across and up. How can you influence?
How can I influence the down, across or up? For example, what's just one way I could encourage, support, give guidance to my boss, right? What's one way I could do that? At work, pick a coworker, right?
Pick somebody at school that you associate with a peer. What's one way that I can encourage, support or give guidance to somebody in each one of those groups and do that today? It could be very simple, right? And always with that idea of how am I also building the kingdom in this?
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