Three keys to greater influence

Social and business entrepreneur Rebecca Contreras recently joined Trent on the Decisions podcast to talk about her latest book, Lost Girl ­— From the Hood to the White House to Millionaire Entrepreneur. (Yes, this story is just as intriguing as it sounds!) We know her insight will energize and inspire you as you position your organization for more impact in 2023.

We all have spheres of influence. Whether you are impacting your family, your community, your church, your business, or a peer relationship, at one point or another, you’re placed in a position of leadership.

And in certain seasons, God gives us a greater measure of influence. But we often neglect to realize that what happens to us before our season of influence truly informs how we relate to others and the degree to which we’re able to impact people for good.

If you find yourself in a new season of influence today, consider these three steps to making a greater impact:

1. Stay vulnerable

The commitment to be open with others and face hurts from your past is crucial to effective leadership. Believe it or not, people are attracted to those who don’t always have every answer and are willing to admit their weaknesses. As a leader, two of the most powerful words you can say are the words “I’m sorry.” (Pretty rare, right?)

Sometimes hurts, trauma, and negative choices from your past may require professional help.

Many Christian leaders often make the mistake of thinking that once they accept Christ and ask for forgiveness, it’s all said and done. There’s no need to mention those failures ever again. But addressing your mistakes will only make you a better leader in the long run. When we deal with the root, the fruit will follow. This doesn’t mean acting proud of your mistakes, it means owning them and dedicating yourself to making better choices.

Take time to consider: What events from my past might mark my life and inform my long-term leadership? What characteristics do I need to focus on when it comes to my personal growth?

2. Stay the course

Disappointment, persecution, and heartache seem more prevalent than ever before. Being a strong leader means having a resolve to stay the course and put your stake in the ground when things get hard. It’s saying, “Even if I face failure and setbacks, I’m not giving up and not giving in.”

As a result, you’ll obtain aspects in that faithful season that will inform your leadership and mark your character like nothing else.

Take time to consider: Under what circumstances am I most tempted to throw in the towel? How does my relationship with Christ play into these seasons?

3. Lead with love

As Christian leaders, CEOs, and business owners, we get busy. We easily become driven by results and with that comes the temptation to drive people into the ground. Strong leaders should be able to say that the number one reason for success is their people. You should attract great people, keep great people, and let your people do what they do best. When you learn to surround yourself with smart people who believe in the vision of your organization, and when you create an environment in which they can thrive, you’ve found success.

Take time to consider: How would the people on my team describe my leadership? In what ways do I communicate that people are more important than results?

A note to women in leadership

There’s no question that God has gifted women with a measure of discernment and compassion. Today, when a woman succeeds in leadership, she is often viewed as “breaking the glass ceiling” or clawing her way to the top. But it may be time for a fresh perspective on this.

What if we simply recognized a successful woman as someone who likes to get things done? What if we didn’t focus so much on gender, race, or cultural differences and instead the fact that she is gifted by God, stays in her lane with those gifts, and lets others fill in the gaps where necessary?

With more opportunity than ever before, it’s an exciting time to be a woman in America. Don’t fight for your seat at the table. Instead, simply earn it and allow God to open those doors of opportunity. And as a result, your influence is sure to thrive.

To hear about Rebecca’s transformative journey, key decisions, and insightful leadership tips, listen to the Decisions podcast episode How a Lost Girl Found Her Story with Rebecca Contreras.

+ More Insights on Leadership from Dunham+Company

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters.