Your Influence as a Leader

“ There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple and useful life.  ”  – Booker T. Washington 

Who is watching you?  Who are you influencing with your words and actions?  Are you proud of the influence you have had in your volunteer role, family or workplace?

Leadership is such an integral part of directing others that John C. Maxwell defines leadership as influence.  Both leaders and followers alike are influencers, for good or for not-so-good outcomes.  But a leader’s influence is more extensive and carries greater immediate consequences as a result.

As a leader, your responsibility is to ensure that you are an influencer for the good of the organization.  One question, “What’s best for all concerned?”, should guide your minute-by-minute decisions.

Per Maxwell’s definition, if you aren’t influencing, you aren’t leading, no matter what the sign over your office door or your website bio indicates.  Here is the key:  Genuine leaders have a group of followers who have willingly placed themselves under the influence of the leader. Bosses may think of themselves as leaders, and many of them are, but in some cases their “followers” only follow because they have been told to.  And they resist their boss’ influence as much as possible.  Haven’t you seen these sort of passive-aggressive employees who are sabbotaging their supervisor?  It is ugly!

True leadership occurs when your life, your wisdom and your expertise “flow in” to the lives of the people you lead. Because we as leaders are so visible, both inside and outside of the workplace, it’s our responsibility to be sure that our behaviors and  influence produces positive results.

Steps you can take to increase your positive influence on others:
Remember that what is flowing on the inside is also flowing into the lives of others.
Make sure your influence is a positive one.
Be aware of your own role models and who is influencing your decisions.
Realize that the quality of your followers is partially a reflection of your ability to lead.
Be honest about your leadership weaknesses and seek ways to improve.

Being an influencial leader can be very rewarding.  Seek to always be the person of great and positive influence that you know you can be.

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