The big question we have to ask today is what is leadership? Leadership is probably the most important element to our success. Leadership can be defined as motivating one or more people to move in a certain direction. That move can be in the form of taking some action and/or acquiring a new belief. So, by this definition, leadership can also be defined as Influence and it also can be defined as Sales. Both are fundamental elements in your success. You may have never thought of it that way. Be honest, how many of you thought becoming better at Leadership, Influence, and Sales would help prosper your life? Probably not very many of you. However, I am going to give it my best to influence you on the absolute truth of that fact.
Effective leadership is the most vital element to any organization. With it and you can reach the stars. Without it and the murkiest swamp will become your home. As John Maxwell says, Everything rises and falls on leadership. So, what is effective leadership and how do we become that kind of leader? I believe one of the best definitions comes from author J. Oswald Sanders when he described leadership as Influence. Sound familiar? We all influence people everyday. It may be as simple as influencing your co-workers on where to go eat lunch or as vital as influencing your teenager not to use drugs.
The first thing I think we need to understand is that there is a difference between an Influential Leader and a Positional Leader. The Positional Leader has the title. I am the President. I am the Director. I am the King of the nation. Well, that is great. But that doesn’t in and of itself make you influential. The Influential Leader may be the peasant of the kingdom or the entry level employee. Influence is about inspiring and moving people into action in order to reach a desired goal. I hope you have the position, but I also hope you have the trust, respect, and heart of your people. Whatever your position is at this time, I want to help you develop into the Influential Person that you were born to be.
Before we can go any further, I believe it is important that we dig a little deeper into the explanations and actions of leadership. Let me ask you a question. Is there a difference between a leader and a manager? There is, isnt there. Ok. What does a leader do? What is the first action that they take? Right. They create a vision. They may not create a vision for the entire organization but they definitely do for their part of it. Alright, what does a manager do? Right. They make it happen. They implement the vision. The leader creates where we are going and the manager breaks the vision into manageable parts and assigns the tasks to the right people and assures that it happens. Ok, let me throw another concept out there? What does a coach do? A coach motivates, inspires, teaches, provides resources, disciplines when necessary, etc
Which are we? A Leader, a Manager, or a Coach? That is right. We are all three. I dont think we can separate it anymore. We have to be all three. We are a Leader/Manager/Coach. Now, that makes our task a little more daunting but will make us much more effective and successful in the long run. As I close this article, I encourage you to let this concept be a seed in the fertile soil of your mind. Let it grow. Let it develop and before you know it, so will your influence.