Leadership is influence

When you read authors like John Maxwell, he says: "Leadership is influence. No more, no less." His favorite proverb is: "He who thinks he leads but has no followers, is only taking a walk."

In the book "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," Maxwell explained that the following can't be assumed as leaders.

  • Management
    Managers can maintain direction but can't change it. Leaders can create positive change and move people to that direction because of their influence.
  • Entrepreneurs / Salespeople
    They can persuade people for a moment to buy items but not necessarily hold long-term influence with their customers.
  • Knowledgeable persons or experts
    Having great knowledge (as power) doesn't equate to leadership.
  • Pioneers
    Being the first is not the same as leading.
  • Position
    It is not the position that makes the leader. It is the leader that makes the position.
In the book Developing the Leader Within You, he reminds readers of key insights that includes:

  • Everyone influences someone.
    Realizing your potential as a leader is your responsibility.
  • We never know who or how much we influence.
  • The best investment in the future is a proper influence today.
    What kind of an influencer will you be? Positive or negative?
  • Influence is a skill that can be developed.
    Maxwell cited Robert Dilenschneider, author of Power and Influence: Mastering the Art of Persuasion, for sharing the idea of a "power triangle" comprised of communication, recognition, and influence. You start to communicate effectively. This leads to recognition and recognition in turn leads to influence.
That influence is dependent on what level of leadership do you possess. You can be a:

  • Level 1: Position.
    People follow because they have to.
  • Level 2: Permission.
    People follow because they want to.
  • Level 3: Production
    People follow because of what you have done.
  • Level 4: People Development
    People follow because of what you have done for them.
  • Level 5: Personhood
    People follow because of who you are and what you represent.

Do you add value?

Hard work is required to gain influence and right to become a leader. If you influence people for your own gain, that shall be seen as manipulation. Positive influence can only take place when it presents clear benefits to everyone involved.

Can bloggers be influential?

Blogs and the bloggers behind them have done or given something of value (joy, insight, inspiration, worthy cause, among others) that moves readers, at least most of them, to regard them as influential. How long will it last shall depend on how they'll evolve and mature.



Anonymous said…
I thoroughly enjoyed reading that Maxwell book myself, Janette. I actually finished it in two sittings. I simply couldn't put it down. LOL.

About the "power triangle", it does ring true. Some individuals fail to get to the level of leadership they want cuz they fail on one of the three, i.e. ineffective communication skills. And there are some individuals who try to put their hand in and spoil one part, i.e. recognition, by discrediting you, in order to lessen your potential influence.

Thanks for sharing this. :-)
Janette Toral said…
Thanks Sasha for this. Maxwell indeed has that effect in all of the books he has written. They require re-reading as well as how we perceive one lesson before can change, due to recent experiences. (realize that we subconsciously applied what he has taught too) He is an invisible mentor to a lot of readers.

Discrediting can be another matter as usually, it is about "competition" where the "strongest" survives.

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