The true measure of leadership is influence–nothing more, nothing less. – John Maxwell
Leadership is simply about influencing people. The true test of a leader is to ask them to create positive change in an organization. If you cannot create positive change, you cannot lead. Being a leader is not about being first, or being an entrepreneur, or being the most knowledgeable, or being a manager. Being a leader is not just holding a leadership position. It’s not the position that makes a leader, but the leader who makes a position. When people find someone who has an impressive title, or is elected into an office, or is assigned a leadership position, they assume that person is a leader. Titles don’t have much value when it comes to leading. True leadership can’t be awarded, appointed, elected or assigned. It comes only from influence. The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting other people to participate.
There are five common myths regarding leadership.
- The Management Myth – Leadership and management are not the same. Leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes.
- The Entrepreneur Myth – Just because you own something or are willing to take a risk doesn’t make you a leader. Entrepreneurs are skilled at seeing opportunities and going after them. They see needs and understand how to meet them in a way that produces profit. They can persuade people for a moment but it takes leadership to hold long-term influence.
- The Knowledge Myth – IQ or a college degree does not equate to leadership. Many people think that “knowledge is power”. However, it is really how you handle or what you do with the knowledge that gives real power. To know is to grow, and with knowing and growing, the whole team you are leading can get going.
- The Pioneer Myth – Being the first isn’t always the same as leading. Being a trendsetter is not the same as being a leader. A leader not only has to be out front, but they must also have people intentionally following their vision for the organization.
- The Position Myth – The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it. “It’s not the position that makes the leader, it’s the leader that makes the position.” – Stanley Huffty
The person who thinks they lead, but has no followers, is only taking a walk. If you can’t influence people, then they will not follow you. If people won’t follow, you are not a leader.
Leadership is influence.
Did you rate yourself in these SEVEN areas?
- Character – who you are
- Relationships – who you know
- Knowledge – what you know
- Intuition – what you feel
- Experience – where you’ve been
- Past success – what you’ve done
- Ability – what you can do
How can you improve the low scores?
H5H Action Step:
- Volunteer: volunteering for an organization tests your ability to lead by influence (referent power) rather than through positional(legitimate) power
Lead The Way!