What is this intriguing subject that has recently swarmed our American culture? Leadership used to be on the same shelf as math and history, a boring trait that only mattered to CEO’s and historic war generals. Now days, it is a coveted trait by everyone. You can even find leadership books in gas stations and Wal Mart. John Maxwell, one of our current fathers of leadership, defines it with one word: Leadership is influence. It is the ability to obtain followers.
Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime! This amazing stat concludes that each one of us are both influencing others and being influenced by others all the time. In any given moment in any given situation, there is a prominent influencer. This influencer might change with a different group of people or situation to become the one being influenced by the influencer.
The next time you are amongst a large group of people, take a look at the social activity around you. If there is a decision to be made, who is the person whose opinion seems more valuable? Who is the one that others automatically look towards to see if they agree?
The most effective way to understand the power of influence is to think of the times that you have been touched through the influence of others. Maybe a special grandparent, teacher, or athlete had a powerful influence on your life. Maybe your being was drastically changed at a youth camp when you were younger. Maybe you met someone in the coffee shop that was like no one else you’ve ever met and you often wonder what they would do in a given situation. Whoever your influencers have been, they are unique to you and that’s what makes them special.
The issue is not whether or not you influence someone. What needs to be settled is what kind of influencer you will be? Influence is a skill that can be developed. Robert Dilenschneider, author of Power and Influence, says that communication is key. Effective communication leads to recognition which in turn leads to influence.
Leadership is not gained by a high position. In fact, people will not follow a positional leader beyond his stated authority. When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment. Most of us have been taught that leadership is a position. Frustration rises when we get out into the blue collar world and find that few people follow us because of our title. Let the following words by John maxwell inspire you to become a great leader of influence:
The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.
The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says, “I”; the leader says, “we.”
The boss fixes a blame for the breakdown. The leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss says, “go”; the leader says, “lets go.”