It is true people are responsible for their own choices. But it’s also the case that we get to influence those around us. And this certainly holds when it comes to setting the tone for those in our kingdom.
It’s clear we cannot dictate and control the choices of those we are responsible to. But wise leadership is more about influence than control. And we can help shape character and point the way toward better by the tone we set in our relationships.
For instance, young kids are prone to imitate everything they’re exposed to. And parents quickly realize they must watch what they say and do lest their kids learn and repeat it. Parents set the tone for the character their kids will develop.
And this influence remains throughout the course of our life.
For example, a very different work environment is created when work is seen as a way to serve our communities rather than simply make money. And it’s the leader who sets this tone.
Likewise, a different tone is set in our marriage when we see it merely as what it can do for us rather than seeing it as an opportunity to reflect the love of God to our wife and the world.
Whatever it looks like, if we want to see more love and generosity, justice and responsibility, community, courage, wisdom, and the like, we must set this tone for those within the realm of our influence.
This means we lead by first embodying the values we want others to adopt. And this is not to trick them into anything. It’s simply remembering we cannot lead others where we’re not willing to go ourselves. And it’s not enough to merely tell them what is true and good. We lead by example and by setting the tone.
In the end, someone has to go first. Show the way by setting the tone for those around you.