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Every management expert professes to have created the best definition for leadership. I have read many of them and certainly made my own list of leadership attributes that I respect and think works (see my blog titled “15 Traits of the Leader I would Follow.”)
After years of trying to come up with a better way of saying it, I keep coming back to the simple definition that thought leader John Maxwell describes in his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”
John writes…”The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
My observation is that some of the best leaders that I have witnessed are the people that are very different from me. They think differently. They approach problems and derive solutions differently. They make me stop and think. They help me challenge my high D/Type A tendencies to come up with an immediate solution. They may be the quiet, non-demonstrative person that you have to ask for their opinion. They may not be the classic “poster-child” for the perfect leader, but they clearly and powerfully influenced decisions, strategies, and results.
So the lesson that I have learned, and I suggest that you consider is this:
- Look for the informal leaders on your team that everyone listens to. This person has influence.
- Look for the people that have the ideas and the courage in their convictions to challenge the deluge of momentum. This person has influence.
- 3. Challenge your belief that a leader has to look and act the way that you or your peers do. That person may have influence.
- Give more attention to the people that make you stop and think. That person has influence.
Leaders come in many different varieties. Find the people in your firm that powerfully influence others and give them a forum to exert even more influence. They are the leaders that will help you take your company to the next level.
Find an influencer. Learn from an influencer. Become an influencer.