People without much leadership experience often overestimate the importance of a leadership title or a leadership position. They believe that they must have a high level position or fancy sounding title in order to influence other people.
But influence doesn’t come with a position or a title. Influence cannot be given, it must be earned.
A position gives you a chance and it can make it somewhat easier to earn influence but it still requires some time to earn your level of influence. Authentic Leaders will gain influence over time while lesser leaders will lose influence. Authentic Leaders understand that a position doesn’t make them a leader. They also understand that as a leader they can make the position whatever they want it to be.
While an inexperienced leader may have a mindset that says, “I want a position that people will have to follow,” an Authentic Leader has a mindset of, “I want to develop myself into the type of person that people will want to follow.”
Those Authentic Leaders know that people can only follow people who care about them. They demonstrate that they care for their people at every opportunity. They work hard at knowing and understanding the people they would lead. They see them as people first and employees second.
Authentic Leaders know that the deeper their concern for their people, the wider and more long-lasting their influence will be.
Authentic Leaders also grow their influence by making certain that their actions match their words. They do what they say they will do. They honor their commitments and help their people honor theirs. They coach, support and encourage their people on a consistent basis.
If you’re interested in being a person of influence then you should know that influence can’t go over, through or under walls. If walls exist between you and the people you’re hoping to lead then influence will not exist.
Relationships bring down walls. Invest a part of every day to know and better understand your people. It’s one of the fastest ways to build a relationship. Your level of influence will grow along with the strength of those relationships.
Lesser leaders can fool themselves into believing that they have more influence than they actually do. Authentic Leaders know that without a doubt their level of influence will be determined not by what it says on their business card but by who they are as a person.
Authentic Leaders are people of influence. Are you a person of influence?