John C. Maxwell says “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
So if leadership is influence, the question is: Do I influence leaders or followers?
Thinkers or doers? Big picture or little picture people?
Self-centered or other-centered people?
Insecure or secure people?
Successful or unsuccessful people?
Casual or passionate people?
Givers or takers?
And my favorite… Cows or buffalos?
The difference between a cow and a buffalo is if they are in the same prairie as when a storm is coming the cows will run away from the storm, therefore being in the storm longer, and a buffalo will always turn towards the storm and run into the storm, therefore getting out of the storm quicker.
The question is, when do I influence others?
“Our value and significance rises when we influence others at a time when it is needed the most. There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity when he seizes it will fulfill his mission, a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment he finds greatness. It is his finest hour.” – Winston Churchill
Napoleon understood this reality as well. He once said “I have noticed in every campaign that I have fought that there is a key segment of time somewhere between 13 and 15 minutes into which that battle is won or lost. I focus on that segment of time and I win.”
Leaders are readers. They sense teachable moments, breakthrough places, and catalyst times. Breakthroughs occur in people and organizations when they hurt enough that they have to change, when they learn enough that they want to change, or they receive enough that they are able to change.
Leadership is influence. The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate.
Here is a prayer that I like. “God, when I am wrong, make me willing to change. When I am right, make me easy to live with. So strengthen me that the power of my influence will far exceed the authority of my position.” – Pauline H. Peters.
Our influence with others is usually not in all areas. My good friend and coach, Howard Partridge, says “If you try to be everything to everyone, you will become insignificant to a lot of people.”
Anytime you think you have influence, try ordering around someone else’s dog. – The Cockle Bur
With influence comes responsibility. There are people whose well-being and destiny are within a leader’s influence. A leader cannot escape that fact. Too many leaders want the perks of leadership without paying the price of leadership. My influence with others is either positive or negative.
My Influence – My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done. Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun. This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray. God, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
Our influence can grow. People of positive influence add value to others. We add value to people when we truly value people. Also, when we know and related to what they value we make ourselves more valuable. In other words, we add value to people when we make ourselves more valuable.
We also add value to people when we do the things that God values.
Write the name of a person you want to influence.