Move ahead on the job and have a positive impact on all with whom you come in contact by cultivating the four characteristics of a person of influence. The Word of God is filled with supernatural wisdom on how to influence others and prosper in the workplace. No other person on earth has ever exhibited the qualities of leadership and influence to a greater degree than Jesus. When we examine His life, four major attributes stand out.
1. The Ability to Inspire Trust
Today, skepticism and cynicism are the hallmarks of our approach to relationships. It spite of this fact, it is possible to be a positive influence on others if you know how to cultivate an atmosphere of trust. It can be done if you do what the Bible, in Psalms 37:3, calls “cultivating faithfulness.” When you cultivate faithfulness in your relationships, your opportunities for positive influence grow rapidly.
Another key to engendering trust in others is “self-disclosure.” Self-disclosure doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry or saying everything you think. It does mean selectively revealing your heart to another person. Nothing else will build trust as effectively.
2. Unconditional Acceptance of Others
No matter whom it is you want to impact and influence, one fact remains—no one will be open to your influence unless they feel accepted by you. If people feel your acceptance of them is tied to their performance, you’ll never wield the level of influence in their lives that will impact them positively.
Jesus understood the power of unconditional acceptance better than anyone. He was criticized by the religious crowd of His day for hanging out with sinners, but Jesus knew He could never influence them in a positive way unless they knew He loved them just as they were. He didn’t condone the sin, but He loved the sinner. If you’ll take that approach with the people around you at the workplace, you’ll find your level of influence growing exponentially.
3. The Ability to Communicate Effectively
A few years ago, the U.S. Center for Human Resources did a study of Americans who had been fired from their jobs. They found that only ten percent of the people they surveyed had been terminated for reasons such as poor productivity or a lack of knowledge. Nearly ninety percent lost their jobs because of poor human-relations skills.
Proverbs 22:11(NIV) says, “He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” If you want to increase on the job, cultivate the characteristic of “gracious speech.”
“Like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” That’s how Proverbs 25:11 (KJV) describes the right words spoken at just the right time. One of the true marks of a skilled communicator is knowing what to say, when to say it, and how it should be said.
4. Skilled in Resolving Conflict
Stephen Covey wrote in his bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “The single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relationships is this: ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’”
Jesus used this principle all the time. In the 4th chapter of John, we read about Jesus, a Jew, encountering a Samaritan woman. Although much racial and religious hostility existed between their cultures, Jesus cut through her suspicion and anger and exerted a profound influence on her life by communicating in love and listening carefully. In other words, seeking to understand before trying to be understood.
Whether you’re a C.E.O. of a large corporation or a stay-at-home mom, you’re going to be involved in negotiation and conflict-resolution situations every day. Your skill in such situations will determine your level of influence in life.
Why is this important? In Mark 3:25 (NKJ) Jesus tells us, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” And in Amos 3:3 (NKJ) we read, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” These verses point out the vital nature of being skilled in the art of conflict resolution and negotiation.
The key to resolving conflicts is wisdom—specifically, God’s wisdom. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
Cultivate these four skills and you’ll find yourself prospering at work. More importantly, you’ll be equipped to influence others for the kingdom of God.