The Law of Influence – the true measure of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.
The person who thinks he or she is a leader but has no followers is just out for a walk! Often, we hear about the leaders of a business, a sports team or a political party and the media loves to kick up a storm about that “leader’s” failings. If we dig a little deeper, though, are those people really leaders or are they just managers.
Managers focus on systems and procedures. They are quite capable (often) of maintaining the status quo or the existing direction of the team, business or organization. What happens at a time of challenge or crisis when the direction needs to be changed? That is when an organization needs to have leaders. Leaders influence people to follow – to move people in a new direction, you need to have influence.
Influence is the ability to produce an effect or to affect character, beliefs or behaviour. The key factors that affect the degree of influence a leader has are:
- Character – who the leader is
- Relationships – leaders need followers; that requires the development of relationships. The deeper the relationship, the stronger the potential for leadership.
- Knowledge – what do you know about the situation, the environment? The old saying that knowledge is power is not necessarily true. Having knowledge does not make you a leader, but you can’t become a leader without knowledge.
- Intuition – what you feel. Leaders seek to recognize and influence intangibles, such as energy, morale and momentum.
- Experience – where you have been and what you have done may give you some more credibility.
- Past success – a great track record helps
- Ability – followers want to know their leader has the ability to lead them to new success.
Who have you influenced in the last seven days? Who have you added value to?
It’s Not About You: A Little Story About What Matters Most In Business by Bob Burg and John David Mann