The Myths and Magic of Influence in Leadership

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The Myths and Magic of
Influence in Leadership

Leadership cannot be assigned, delegated or awarded, but rather it is recognised within someone by their ability to influence people, organisations, situations and paradigms.  The basic form of true leadership is influence. A leader is measured on his or her ability to influence, and this cannot be “passed on” to someone, but rather leadership and influence tags must be earned. All the skills and strategies one learns as a leader, is to influence effectively.

Three common myths feed the misconceptions concerning the source of influence. These myths are:

1.       The Management Myth: Managers are leaders. This myth claims that managers are leaders, but it mainly deals with processes, systems and administrative controls. Managers can maintain direction set by a leader, and assist in moving people forward, and in rare instances, managers can fulfil a leadership role in their personal capacity too.

2.       The Entrepreneur Myth: Entrepreneurs are Leaders. The entrepreneurial skill of spotting new opportunities and pursuing them is an awesome ability, but does not qualify one as a leader. Often the entrepreneur will pursue his or her dream alone, unable to get others to buy-in to the vision they value so much.

3.       The Position Myth: The title makes the man. This myth insists that a person is a leader because of job title, position or economic status. Influence, however, does not come because of the person’s position or title; rather it is the man (person) that makes the title.

Although driving a fancy car, living in a nice house or having a fancy title on a business card helps define ones personal success, it does not define one as a leader. The appeal and magnetism of a leader is different, affecting us on a more personal level.

Leaders draw us in and speak to our sense of authenticity and to our values, inspiring us to raise the standard of our values and relationships. They plunge us into a sense of worth as we connect to our potential and purpose. The magic of leadership is more than a status symbol or a title on a door. It’s human and it is delicious (not strictly a leadership or business term J).  Magical factors contributing to a leaders influence includes:

1.       Character Magic: Character is about WHO you are. Leadership always starts with the person on the inside. Traits like integrity, honesty and authenticity are visible to those around us, and it is those who are true at a deep level that affect the most influence.

2.       Knowledge Magic: Subject Matter Experts without arrogance, but with a genuine ability to share knowledge in a practical manner that promotes self confidence skill development and positive attitude effectively creates influence. People will want to learn from the best.

3.       Intuition Magic: The best leaders are capable of reading intangible elements of influence, such as morale, energy levels and timing.

4.       Relational Magic: Influence is about knowing what type of relation to ignite with whom and at what level. Networking with others in your chosen field of influence is crucial to developing your own personal ring of influence.

Leadership is not taken for granted because you have a “Leadership Course” Certificate hanging on the wall (although learning as much as possible concerning all aspects of leaders is greatly beneficial), nor does a set time period of study qualify you in any way, but it is clear that Leadership is a process of development and will take time to form and groom. Like a delicate plant, influence needs to be fed, groomed and tended to. If you are to become a leader, you must actively grow your network of influence.

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