If Leadership is Influence, What Kind of Influence are You Using to Lead?

leadership control

As a trainer and coach of leaders worldwide, John Maxwell made the saying, “leadership is influence” popular. But exactly what do we mean by leadership is influence?

One definition of influence is, “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others

Influence can be derived from one of two places. The one is the use of power and authority that comes with leadership to influence the behavior and opinions you want. This kind of leadership by influence is using position and power that comes with leadership to manipulate the outcome you desire.

Leading by this kind influence is best seen among parents with their children. I use the power as a parent to influence my daughter to do what I want her to do with the threat of taking away her access to the computer or her iPad. This kind of leadership is necessary in raising kids since we are training them and they are still mentally and emotionally developing.

When it comes to leading adults the use of influence has to be different.

A leader should never make her followers feel threatened, insecure or afraid so they will follow her.

Leaders who influence in this way usually get an appearance of support and respect from those they lead, while in reality, the leader does not have either one.

The use of power and authority as a means of influencing your followers may get you what you want, but you will discover your leadership will be void of loyalty and respect.

The other place from which influence is derived is when the leader models to his followers the behaviors, actions and the way others should be treated. A leader should not ask her followers to do anything she is not willing to do herself.

When people feel trusted, respected and valued by their leaders, they will be motivated to do their best work. They will have respect for and support a leader whose mode of influencing is not the use of power and authority but that of humility with respect and value for their followers.

Leading by influence is not about forcing people to do what you want with the use of manipulation or control, rather it is getting others to do what you want out of respect and loyalty for you because of how you value and respect them.

Here is one way to know what kind of influence you are using to lead. Answer the following questions: If you were stripped of the title, the power to reward and punish, would those you lead still follow you? Would you still get results from them?

Another way to know what kind of influence you use is to ask those you lead to be honest with you as to how they are influenced by you as their leader. This will call for a level of vulnerability, honesty and the willingness to hear the truth without being offended. I would imagine since you are asking for the feedback, you should not be offended by the answer.

What kind of influence are you using  to lead?

If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at errol@errolcarrim.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.

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