Influence comes with responsibility


[vimeo id="113632907"] John Maxwell’s famous quote, ”leadership is influence,” has been a source of inspiration to many leaders over the years. Some leaders understand the power of this influence and others do not. However, if we wish to become truly effective in our leadership, we have to appreciate the power of this influence. This means that our leadership comes with a great deal of responsibility. The choices that leaders make will affect others either positively or negatively. The question is, how can we keep our influence within positive boundaries?

Here are a few ideas than will guide your influence as you lead people.

First, your influence needs to be life-giving. Have you ever worked with leaders that just sucked the life out of you? Maybe they pointed at everything that went wrong, they never told you that you’re doing a good job or maybe they never even knew or cared that you exist. These leaders did not use their position in a way that gave life, but rather, they took life. You see leaders must be inspirational with their teams. They have to speak life, provide hope, give vision, empower and encourage people in what they do. Leaders must recognize the victories of their teammates. If they do not, it becomes easy to fall into complacency. If the leader doesn’t care, why should the teammate? So use your influence to care about your team.

Second, eliminate the doldrums. Effective leaders need to be aware of the doldrums in their lives and in the environment that they create for others. Positive influence will always cultivate an environment of innovation and energy. People were designed to be creative. Leaders must influence change into people’s lives as well as their own. The moment we stop changing is the same moment we start to die in the doldrums. By using influence to reinvigorate creativity, leaders are producing a positive influence.

Third, become the anti-burnout. Have you ever worked for leaders who just simply overworked their teams? Being burnt-out is the direct result of being overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated. When leaders push their teams without properly balancing their demands, I guarantee that the team won’t stay around for much longer. There’s a difference between being passionate about the mission and being a bully. Leaders need to gauge their team’s morale and develop ways to keep it high and not depleted. So, use your influence to energize your team, and don’t over work them.

Fourth, don’t be fake, but be motivated by an authentic spirit. People can tell when you’re faking it. If you use your influence in a fake way, it won’t be respected. What you say and what you do have to be motivated by authentic convictions. If you don’t believe it, no one else will either. I call this convictional courage. We have to mean what we say and do. It’s crucial to understand that the motivation behind your actions matters more than the action itself.

Fifth, truly care about people. To be a positive influence, you have to truly care about people. Your love for others must be the sole motivator behind your actions. If you only seek to please yourself, the influence you pour out will return void. It’s hard to have a positive influence if your heart isn’t filled with a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Genuine leaders will stop living for themselves and start living for others.

I trust these thoughts have encouraged your leadership today and empowered you to use your influence in a positive way. Please feel free to let me know if you have follow up thoughts or ideas that you would like to add to this post. I’d love to hear from you. Have a great day!