Whether we realize it or not, we are leaders. Someone is listening to our comments (personally or virtually), following our advice, or watching and being influenced by our example. Leadership is not something that can be avoided. Leadership is a reality.
Who are you leading and how are you doing at it?
Some roles of leader and follower are clearly defined, so evaluating our performance is fairly clear and obvious. Mentoring, coaching, teaching, and parenting would be simple examples of obvious roles of influence. Some of those role, however, are less evident. Social media may be the most influential leadership medium of the current generation, but must of us don’t think about how the comments we make on social media are influencing others. Maybe we should, though, because we even refer to our contacts on social media as “followers.”
Live your life with care because others, seen and unseen, are being influenced by you.
When you take the leap to cross-cultural work and ministry, you increase the visibility of your leadership and influence, especially in places where you are clearly an outsider. People will relate to you based on your cultural background, and you will impact the opinion of others about your home culture by the way you live. When unfounded stories about adoptions of Guatemalan children leading to the harvesting of baby parts for transplants circulated in the country, missionaries from North America were immediately suspect. On the opposite side, disrespecting your host culture openly will have an impact on the people in your sphere, and they will project that on to all visitors from your culture.
Take your leadership seriously, whether in obvious roles or ones less evident. Live your life on purpose, with intentionality, realizing the impact of your thoughts, words, and actions on those around you.