I has been said that "leadership is influence: Nothing more and nothing less." *
Influence does not depend on position, but on the ability of a person to have an effect on others that causes them to agree, to follow and to work with him/ her because they want to.
When they have to because you have positional power to move them and remove them, then you do not necessarily have leadership. You might be in a position of leadership over them, but all you actually have is a position and that is the lowest level of leadership!
Leadership is about the influence you have on people, without the positional use of authority and/or money.The greater this influence, the stronger your leadership.
The question that leaders should ask themselves then is: "How do I build my influence?" -And again you might be tempted to go the route of position and power, believing that it is influence, while it is in fact only leverage and coercion. -That is all that some leaders want though......
Building influence and thus building real leadership, is about creating meaning for yourself and for others. It is about being busy with the things that brings purpose to life: It's about focusing on the passion/s that God has created in you. Working on and in the areas of your passion, creates energy and focus -and people just can't resist that! Meaning, passion, energy and focus in the live of a leader builds influence.
John Maxwell said that "the extent of your influence depends on the depth of your concern for others." That's probably the biggest building block of influence: The fact that you really care for other people and you don't just act as if you do because it is part of your job description. It is about having enough confidence in who you are, that you are able to serve others.
This is about building a way of life where you are not position minded, but focused on the impact your function has, or could have on the lives and needs of those around you, by putting them before your own agenda. In this context it is important to note that serving others, is not always the same as pleasing them.
- Are you building your influence or just advancing your position?
- Do you know the difference??
* J. Oswald Sanders in George Barna 1997 Leaders on leadership, seems to be the first to use this phrase.John Maxwell 1993 Developing the leader within you, have enhanced and popularized it.