Leadership is influence as defined by John C. Maxwell. He even went a step further to say that if you are leading and no one is following, you are simply taking a walk!
Can someone who has no followers be said to be a leader? One of the things that gives credibility to a leader is having followers. Without followers, there is no leader! If a lot of leaders have this understanding, they will be more effective.
Leaders can cause people to follow them through threats, cajoling, and the outright use of force but none beats influence I.e. Positive influence.
Other means will backfire because, after a while, the followers will rebel. Humans are not wired to be trampled upon perpetually. They always resist such leaders in the end.
Hence, the purpose of the article is to highlight ways to lead through (positive) influence. I used the word highlight because I will not be the first to write about this and also because it needs to be stressed.
Let’s get to the crux of this matter.
To lead, you must influence.
Before you can be able to influence people, you must be able to connect with them.
You must connect, to be able to influence. And influence makes leadership possible.
Below are 4 ways to connect with the people you intend to lead.
1) Compassion: This is the ability to recognize the situation of the people and do something about it to make their lives better. When you care genuinely about them, you will connect better with them, and this will allow you to easily influence them.
Always seek to make their lives better!
2) Accessibility: The degree of being easily reached or contacted. If you are serious about leading people via influence, you must be reachable. You must be approachable, and sometimes vulnerable. You must be cordial, warm, and friendly. It isn’t a weakness to be all these as a leader. The strength of your connection is directly proportional to how accessible you are. The more accessible you are, the quicker and stronger will be your connection and vice verse.
3) Reliability: The quality of performing consistently well. To be able to connect and influence the people you want to lead, they must be sure that you can be trusted to deliver at all times. You must be a leader who can be trusted to always watch out for their good. The people must be first at all times. Their interest is yours to protect. If you take this approach, you will be able to influence them and gain their allegiance.
4) Example: Self-leadership is the basis of all leadership. If you cannot lead yourself, then you have no right to ask anyone to follow you. You must lead by example. You must lead from the front. Whatever you want the people to do, you must be willing to do it first and do it with them. Doing this will give you committed followers.
Again, John C. Maxwell says that “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.
When you care about and for the people you are leading, influence is the reward.
The 4 points I shared above can be summarized into 4 letters: CARE!
To your success.
Fatubaro Temitope is a Human Resources Generalist and Leadership Coach.