What do you think is the measure of good leadership?
You will get different answers depending on who you ask and at what season you ask. Why, because leadership is often misunderstood. You might assume that an impressive sounding title means that an individual is an impressive leader. Now while that might hold some truth, in actuality titles hold little to no value when it comes to leadership.
Many of the most common concepts about leadership are also based on incorrect assumptions:
- A leader is a manager
- A leader is an entrepreneur
- A leader is educated
- A leader is a visionary
If Good Leadership Is Not About Titles, So What’s It About
Now while these are excellent traits to have as a leader, it’s not the measure of good leadership. The test of real leadership is through something more tangible – influence, and everything else is just a supporting cast of characters.
John C. Maxwell, leadership authority, explains, “True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned. The only thing a title can buy is a little time—either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it. “
I received my first lesson in influence when I got my first job, right out of college. I had all the proper credentials and accolades. I had million dollar ideas. I managed other people. And I had an impressive title.
But at my first team meeting, as I rolled out my plan for world domination, I quickly found out who was the leader.
His name was Ray. And Ray was a quiet man who shut his eye when he spoke to you. But Ray listened with great intensity. When Ray spoke, everyone listened. When Ray made suggestions people agreed.
And when Ray lead people followed.
I quickly began to understand that if I wanted to lead my team. If I wanted to make, ideas happen. I would need Ray’s help and even his mentorship.
4 Strategies To Becoming An Influential Leader
John C. Maxwell explains that there are several factors in becoming an influential leader:
1. What have you done? Your past achievements tell everyone what you have done. It allows you to illustrate your effectiveness as a leader and gives your followers a reason to trust your leadership.
2. What can you do?” This is your ability to make ideas happen. Your followers want to know that you can quickly and efficiently make decisions.
3. Who are you? Your mental and moral qualities will determine what caliber of person will follow you. For example, if you are a fantastic leader then you will attract other amazing leaders.
4. Who do you know? Being an influential leader is dependent on your relationships. The more profound the relationship, the deeper the influence you will have with your followers.
Do You Want To Be A Good Leader, Start Now
If you have never led before you should first try to influence others. You can do this by leading a volunteer organization for a few months. Why? Because if people follow you when you have no leverage over them, image what you can accomplish when you have leverage.
If you have some influence, then try to build a team. Attempt to bring on the best people you can get your hands. Sit down with them one-on-one and get an understanding of their leadership potential. Give the ones who are strong leaders more authority and work to improve those who are weak leaders.
The greater the impact you want to make the greater command of influence you will need. But when you have mastered influence, the ideas you can make happen will be incredible.