If many of the world renowned leadership experts, including the likes of John Maxwell, believe that leadership is influence, then it will just require common sense to spend more time building your influence so that you can lead.
There are those who really want to lead and some have already been given the responsibility of leadership but they just don’t understand what has already hit them. Many still think that all they need to lead is the position they already have or that they can simply enforce their rule using the laws they can engage.
When all you can ever think about doing as a leader is to use the law or the constitution to enforce the followers over certain issues then you are missing the point of leadership. It is true that the law would have given you powers but much more than the powers you have been given, you should understand that the law is to maintain order. It is to have written codes. If there were not written laws or codes then there will be chaos.
Rather than trying so hard to use all the available laws to support your stand or views, you can grow beyond that. When you spend more time building your influence, you will not have to look at how much powers the law gives to you before you can get things done. If you focus on your influence then the people will follow you even without looking at what the laws say you can do or cannot do.
Many leaders still want to lead other people using the powers they have in the law but when you take a look at those who lead by influence, they will still have power even after vacating office. Do you know what that means? Even when they are no longer supported by the law, they still have their influence. And you should know that wherever there are two leaders and the people who should follow can make a choice, they will most likely choose the one who relies on influence to lead rather than the once who relies on the law to lead.
What then is influence? Dictionary.com says ‘it is the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviour, opinions etc., of others.’ That definition uses the word ‘capacity’ so it means you can build the capacity to influence. It also calls it power so I can say it means that when you have influence then you have power and you effect the actions of others.
To be more specific, what will the ‘capacity’ be if you will be able to get people to do what you want? I think some of them are:
Your own skills and talents. If you build this capacity you will be able to influence people with similar skills and talents. You will also be able to use the skill to influence other people.
The experiences you have gathered. Some people follow you just because of your experience and they think they can learn from you.
Things, places and people you have invested in. If you have invested in people, they most likely will listen to you. you also have control in places where you have invested.
The vision you are pursuing. If you are pursuing a clear vision you might also have some influence in that area.
Your previous opportunities to lead. This is always a chance to build influence for the future. So if you are leading now, you are either build or destroying your chances of influencing people later in life.
Communication skills. Any leader who must build capacity has to build the capacity to communicate. If you cannot communicate then you can’t influence anything and will not be able to lead.
Have you been struggling to lead before now? Maybe it’s time to do the real leading. Build your influence and see how you just might be able to lead effortlessly.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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