Inspiration vs. Manipulation

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

– 1 Thessalonians 1:3

I love how Simon Sinek describes leadership. He says that there are basically two ways in which people influence: manipulation and inspiration

Now, before you jump to an immediate conclusion about which type is preferable, remember that manipulation is not always a negative or pejorative thing. For instance, if I pay someone $50 to mow my lawn, that’s a form of manipulation; I’m getting that person to do what I want by making payment. I’m not going to inspire a response by listing all the benefits of mowing lawns and making a YouTube video about it — I need a definitive way to get the job done! Discipline can also be considered a form of manipulative influence, yet it is entirely necessary. Parents have to punish their children, and teachers or bosses may be required to introduce consequences to deal with certain negative behaviors; it’s for the benefit of the one being disciplined and also for the protection of those around them. Inspiration, on the other hand, is the higher and better form of leadership, and it should be employed whenever possible. Though it can take many forms, I believe it happens primarily by example. When we live what we preach and others have the opportunity to observe us over a period of time, they are naturally inspired to change because they want to become more like us. 

Friend, God has given you the awesome privilege of being an inspirational leader. When you choose to be honest about your shortcomings and passionate about your walk with the living Jesus, He uses your vulnerability, courage, and devotion to impact others. Stop telling people what to do and start living the way you want them to live. There is much more power in your witness than in your words! 


Jesus, I pray for influence that comes from your Spirit working within me. 


Do you lead by inspiration or manipulation?

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