Antonio A. Rios.

People's answers may be based on fear or consideration.

In the world in which we live, we influence someone or are influenced by somebody all the time. Sometimes, as leaders, we have to assume a position of command over other individuals. However, we must think over what kind of influence we wish to exert in different occasions. Or what will happen if they listen to us. Do they listen just because we are in a position of leadership?

It is well known that in human communication there are two basic ways of interpersonal influence: Personal influence or positional influence. When we act with an "iron hand," despotism or arrogance in treating others, mainly with those who are under us, the only mechanism we employ so that they may obey our orders is the power of the position we hold. "We are their superiors we think, and they have to obey us." In this case we are using our positional influence, in other words, the authority of the function we exercise.

That type of leader generally obtains what they want, but they will also gain scorn and isolation. That person will become more and more unwanted and malevolent.

When we use our personal influence we are making use of that particular ability to make others feel satisfied to perform what we have suggested. In that case, we must treat each person with much respect and dignity in order to gain their loyalty. It behooves us to understand that human beings correspond to the treatment they receive, "Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matt. 7:12). That means that the leader must use his influence and not his position when leading in order to be obeyed.

To use influence correctly is the same as having someone perform a task with pleasure considering the person with whom he or she is associated and not for fear of being discredited.

When we lead properly, the sound of our voice and our facial expression determine our type of language. Specialists in the matter affirm that our tone of voice represents 38% of communication, the facial expression 55% and the word only 7% of all the process. Nevertheless, if we use the word, the tone of voice, and facial expression correctly, the power to influence others will be very great.

Therefore, it is concluded that it will depend wholly on us to use the correct tool when dealing with other people and then we wait for negative or positive results. As Shakespeare put it: "It is easier to obtain what is desired with a smile, than with the sword.

Edimar Ribeiro is district pastor of Humaita, Amazonas, Brazil.

Translated by Antonio A. Rios.