Leadership is a process that is preceded and accompanied by followership and servanthood. It is not about affluence or position; rather, it is about influence. Here are four ways to enhance your influence in leadership:
No other venture guarantees fulfilment and enduring influence like service to others. Make a commitment to serve and watch your sphere of influence expand beyond your imagination. Years ago, the Salvation Army was holding an international convention and their founder, General William Booth, could not attend because of physical weakness. Nevertheless, his influence was felt at the convention through the convention message that he cabled to them. It was one word: “OTHERS.” Regardless of your field of operation, serve others with genuine commitment. True leaders don’t differentiate between the secular and the spiritual when it comes to giving their best wherever they find themselves.
As a leader, you must display courage in difficult situations. This means that you must be willing to take decisive action in the face of uncertainties, even when you feel fearful. This sends a message to your followers and offers them a pattern to emulate. When they are faced with similar situations, they can easily surmount the challenges by replicating or refining your process.
Maturity in decision making is a vital necessity for effective leadership. One of the ways to measure a leader’s maturity is how he arrives at his decisions and judgements. Does he base his judgements and decisions on the big picture or on his own selfish interests? Mature leaders are always guided by the fulfilment of the long term vision rather than the gratification of immediate desires. This creates stability which in turn enhances your influence.
A great leader understands his followers and their goals. Your followers have dreams and desires, they have ambitions and aspirations. Helping them to align their personal objectives with the overall corporate goal is one way to increase your influence as a leader. When your followers can fulfil their aspirations within the context of your leadership, you are an influential leader.
Contrary to prevailing views in some quarters, leadership is not about lording it over others by virtue of your affluence or superior position. Rather, as Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
Photo credit: Karin Dreyer/Corbis