And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. (Genesis 39:3–4)


It seems that wherever Joseph went, he ended up being in charge of everything. People saw something in Joseph that made them want to put him in charge; to place him in a leadership role.

What is a leader? A leader is one who guides by influence or one who directs by going before, or along with. The key words in this definition are “guides by influence.” That means you should have your act so together that people want to be like you. You should be leading to the point that people would want to follow where you’re going, versus being forced to follow.

A leader is someone that others want to follow. Notice that I didn’t say, “Someone that others are made to follow.” Have you ever heard the expression, “Do as I say and not as I do?” That’s not the sentiments of a good leader. The best way to lead is “by example.” People are watching your example and should willingly choose to follow you, not be forced to follow you.

I’ve worked at different organizations in my life and have noticed that in some corporations, a leader would be placed in a certain position while their subordinates knew that the person was not a good leader. The subordinates had no choice but to follow that leader once he was in place.

Situations like this can lead to a systemic failure within that organization. As in the film classic, The Cain Mutiny, the officers and crew of this naval ship were forced to follow the lead of a tyrannical captain which led to an uprising and mutiny. Situations like this squelch productivity and are not conducive to maximizing potential.


Dear God, make me a leader who influences by example in my family, at my job or in my business, in my community or wherever else You have placed me. As You enable me, I will lead in a way people will want to follow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This devotional is excerpted from Bill Winston’s book, The Spirit of Leadership. To order this power-packed resource and discover how to be an effective and visionary leader, click here.