I admit it – I am a leadership junkie. I can’t read enough, listen enough, workshop enough or learn enough about great leaders, and specifically about great leadership. I love when I am able to identify someone I can learn from and become a better person because of his or her story and their leadership.
Be careful though – do not confuse a title with great leadership. It is true – there are many people with impressive titles who are in fact -great leaders. It is also true that many individuals with big titles are not good leaders or influencers.
How can you tell the difference?
Is it even important that you know the difference? Absolutely! I’ll tell you why.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden
Statistics show that we are greatly influenced by the people we surround ourselves with and by the information we feed ourselves on a regular basis. Please do not miss this….it is so important!
Most of us spend more than 40 hours a week around people at work that we did not choose to be in our life – circumstance and job opportunity bring people together in this fashion. Most people work for someone, therefore they have a “boss”. Bosses are huge influencers simply because they are responsible for whether or not we continue to receive a paycheck! As an old friend of mine used to say, “If the boss ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” – and that’s the truth!
My hope is that we are all blessed with amazing influencers, but my research tells me there are too many bad influencers in supervisory roles in this world! While we cannot control others – we can control ourselves. In order to do that, we must first identify what a good leader looks like, and start looking for those qualities.
[callout]As one of my virtual mentors reminds us in his book, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell tells us that Great Leaders are:
Consistent – They are the same person no matter who they are with.
Make Good Choices – They make choices that benefit the organization and others before self.
Give Credit – They are quick to recognize others for their successes.
Have Character – Integrity is more important than their image.
Have Credibility – They recognize credibility as a victory, not as a gift.[/callout]Great leaders by default are great influencers. The opposite of that is not always true; great influencers are not always good leaders.
No matter who you are or where you are in your life – you are influenced. This is why it is so important to know when the wrong people are motivating you so you can take the actions necessary to move yourself in the direction of your dreams.
[shareable cite=”Theresa Singletary”]One of the most important lessons I have learned in my lifetime is that anyone can be a good leader from any position in their life.[/shareable]
Yes, you can be a good leader and influencer no matter your status, your financial level or your job title. Whether you are the owner of a company or the lowest employee on the roster, never underestimate your level of influence.
It’s pretty amazing when you witness people of great influence, especially when they don’t have the experience or title to go before them. When I am serving at my church’s youth service each week, I have the honor and privilege of seeing our volunteers, some of them barely out of high school themselves, positively influencing our leaders of tomorrow.
These young people (volunteers) talk to these kids, pray with them, share their own experiences, text them throughout the week, and simply let them know that they are loved. Can you imagine, just for a moment, imagine the influence these actions have on these 6th – 12th graders? This is not temporary or small influence folks. This is life changing, powerful influence!
The impact is immeasurable! These students’ lives are changed because someone without a degree, without status, without a prestigious title – have poured into these youth a few moments of “I care about you”. I get passionate about this folks!
Let’s not make excuses anymore! If you have a desire to have more positive influence in people’s lives, ask yourself these questions:
In order to be a great leader, I must first aspire to be a great person.
- Is there anything I need to pray about and work on in my own life before I should be an influence to others?
- Do I make good decisions even when things are difficult?
- Do I recognize the power of words and use them wisely?
When people lead their own lives well, others recognize this and naturally want to follow and learn how to do the same. I wish I could just spend my days interviewing great leaders and great influencers of the past and present – these inspiring men and women who cause goosebumps to rise when I read about them or hear them speak.
Pouring uplifting stories into my head each day motivates me to want to leave my mark on the world too! We all have stories. Every single person has a story with the potential to positively influence another’s life. Let us build each other into better influencers, better leaders, and better human beings.
We are here for too short a time to behave any other way my friends!
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Late President of the Bi-Lo Stores