The second law of leadership states, “The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less” (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell). This concept states, that a leader is an influencer and that as their influence grows, so also their leadership grows.
Many times, we see leadership based on position or title, but this simply statement says leadership is so much more. In fact, “It’s not the position that makes the leader, but the leader who makes the position” (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell). Position based leadership especially leads to failure in volunteer organizations. For volunteers, a leader must build their influence and not try to leverage their position. Building influence is essential, if a leader is attempting to bring change to the organization. This is true if leading a business, community organization or a church.
One of my first jobs, after my freshman year, was at a pizza delivery store making pizzas. The manager had been in this line of business for a number of years and held the position of Manager. Most of the time, he was not working while I was. The first Friday night I worked with him, he obviously needed an anger management course. He was cussing and fussing and ended up kicking the conveyor double decker pizza oven and put a dent in it. The second busy night, I worked he threw the scale up against the wall and broke it. Within two weeks, he was trying to coach me how to respond when someone from the car financial company called. Honestly, he wanted me to lie. With each course of action or reaction he influence grew smaller in the eyes of the employees. He was losing his influence despite holding onto his position. His influence was so diminished that he was having trouble getting the employees to do menial tasks like fold pizza boxes or deliver pizzas. Only a few weeks later, they brought in an assistant manager from another store, who replaced him after a month.
You may be reading this and wondering how can I grow my influence? Obviously, this takes more than a couple of days or reading a few blog articles. Here are a few key components that make the leader:
1) Who they are – Character – Leadership begins with who the person really is (inner self). Build Character.
2) Who they know – Relationships – Build relationships with the right people. You cannot treat people horrible and lead them at the same time.
3) What they know – Knowledge – In the information age, information is vital. You need a grasp of the facts to build an accurate vision for the future.
4) What they feel – Intuition – Leaders recognize and look to influence the important aspects such as energy, morale, timing and momentum.
5) Where they’ve been – Experience – The more vast your past challenges, the better chance others will be willing to follow your lead.
6) What they can do – Ability – The bottom line is followers want a leader that can lead them to victory. Know your strengths and what you are capable of.
Grow these components and you will grow your influence. As you grow your influence, so you will see a greater response and success in your leadership. This is especially true when leading volunteers including a ministry setting. Strong components of influence exhibited by a pastor or other leader will go a long way to success and participation by the congregation or other team members. This reiterates that according to second law, leadership is influence. How do you feel that you could grow your influence and build your leadership?
Feel free to read the blog post Overcoming Failure to find success.