As John C. Maxwell says, “we all have a sphere of influence” and I believe leaders influence their followers and visa versa. In any case, there are traits both in the natural and spiritual realms that attach to both the leader and their followers. We reflect the characteristics and traits of those we connect with, follow, imitate, etc. For thousands of years in the Jewish culture, followers dressed liked, spoke like, and lived near their chosen rabbi. You could, and still today can, look at them and know who they follow.
Sometimes we begin to follow someone because they are charismatic. They are charmers. On the surface they appear to have traits that we like but below the surface there are things bubbling that aren’t exactly the best qualities. Other leaders are what they say they are regardless of where they are. They have integrity…they do what is right whether or not anyone is watching or if they’ll get credit.
I’ve seen both. I’ve followed both. Sadly, I might even have been both at times. We can know them by the Fruit of the Spirit that they display… or not. We will be known by the same…and by the love we show too.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV
- Leader A displays traits such as strife, contention, jealousy, crisis, chaos, drama, illness, injury, disorder, always behind, never rested, they are takers/users, etc.
- Leader B’s traits are calm, love, joy, peace, grace, order, faithfulness, giving, gentleness, authenticity, honesty, integrity, etc.
I want to be a Leader B person. I want to consistently display an atmosphere of calm, love, joy, peace, grace, order, faithfulness, giving, gentleness, authenticity, honesty, and integrity. That means I have intentionally and purposefully spent the past 15 months removing from my close circle the people and leaders who display Leader A characteristics. I’ve chosen to follow people with Leader B qualities, and try to be a Leader B person. The result is my life, my home, my business, and my attitude are much more calm, peaceful, loving, etc.
I can tell from watching or listening to someone who their “rabbi” is…good or bad. I had a person contact me who follows a Leader A. All their communication (phone, email, Facebook posts) was filled with stories of crisis, chaos, never rested, injury, and drama. The atmosphere around them was almost tangible. I could feel an uneasiness welling up inside of me. I quickly had to disconnect from them. Immediately the feeling of calm, peace, order, etc. was restored within me and around me. Sadly, when in the vortex of a Leader A, it’s sometimes difficult to see how much their traits have rubbed off on those who follow them.
I also have friends who I’ve known for 30-40 years and who consistently display Leader B qualities. I find myself drawn to be around them more and more. Hopefully, I’ll learn and display these types of traits on a daily basis and also influence others to do the same.
Ultimately, as Christians we are to follow Jesus Christ and imitate him as he imitates his Father. Still, while we are here on Earth, we will always follow and be influenced by friends, Christian and secular leaders, our employer, media, etc.
Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
The challenge to myself, and to you, is to regularly stop and look in the mirror (both literally and figuratively). Do you like what you see? Are your words, actions, attitudes, people around you, and circumstances in your life displaying traits of Leader A or Leader B?
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