How to Get People to Submit

By Joel Comiskey, check out: Facilitate

I’ve spent many hours trying to discover the principles behind effective leadership. I’ve searched for secret formulas and hidden mysteries. When I finally found what I consider the key, I was embarrassed by its simplicity.

I felt like the famous German theologian who boiled down all his years of research into one phrase: Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.

People willingly submit when they know they’re loved and when a relationship exists. Relational authority is a type of authority that a coach can continually improve because it’s based on his or her relationships. It’s an authority based on a relationship with a person rather than the person’s position of authority. It’s the most important type of authority.

Jesus demonstrated this type of authority in Mark 3:13ff.  The Bible says, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him.  Jesus asked these people to spend time with Him and share His life.  Relationships! Leadership authority is all about loving and serving the leaders. It’s all about doing what it takes to fine-tune their lives.

It finally began to dawn on me that people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. People submit to love and friendship. Listen to Christ’s own words to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

How can you increase your relational authority?

  • Take time with people
  • Find common areas of passion and interest (including non-ministry areas)
  • Look to their interests more than your own
  • Seek to meet their needs and agendas before your own

Knowledge, skill training, problem solving, group dynamics, and other techniques can play an important role in a leader’s success. But, what a small group member or leader really needs is someone to bear the burden, to share the journey, to serve as a sounding board. To be a friend. People will submit to you when they know how much you care for them.