Influence to be followed, pay at the door!

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest of souls, the most massive characters are seamed with scars…” E.H. Chaplin

What makes a movie a Hollywood blockbuster? Is it a multimillion budget? Do the celebrity actors count? The treasure chest and celebrity may help. But the real magic is in the work that goes on before that magical premier, before the record box office sales.

It is the scars; hard work, tears, despair and a strong will to succeed. It is the vision of the finished product and its effect on audiences. However, someone has to take that vision as his or her own. Someone has to sweat the details and navigate the mire that translates written script into eye-popping visuals and heart-pumping suspense.

You see, people follow those that add meaning to their existence, no matter how misconceived that may be. A leader is not necessarily the director of a great motion picture, but one who influences others to follow the big picture out of their own free will. The right people need to be “influenced” to bring a dream on paper to reality on the screen.

Leadership is about influence. For leadership to exist, then people perform an act because they want to, not because they have to. “You have achieved excellence as a leader when people follow you everywhere if only out of curiosity,” once noted Colin Powell.

But there is a price to pay! As John C. Maxwell points out in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, true leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It must be earned. A title will not cut it here. Leadership is influence. “To be a leader, a person not only has to be out front, but also have people intentionally coming behind him, following his lead, and acting on his vision.” John C. Maxwell

Augustus, “the revered one”, the 1st Emperor of the Roman Empire clearly understood the power of influence. “In my sixth and seventh consulships [28-27 BC], after I had extinguished civil wars, and at a time when with universal consent I was in complete control of affairs, I transferred the republic from my power to the dominion of the senate and people of Rome… After this time I excelled all in influence [auctoritas], although I possessed no more official power [potestas] than others who were my colleagues in the several magistracies.” Res Gestae Divi Augusti 34.1-3

To be a great leader, you need to be able to extract loyalty from your followers of their own free will. On his deathbed, Augustus boasted “I found a Rome of bricks; I leave to you one of marble”.

The real leader is not the manager, entrepreneur, pioneer, knowledge geek, or “higher-up”. Position or leverage may help, but just. Influence will ensure you are in for the long haul.

Are you willing to pay the price? To become a better leader, become the influence that lights fire in people’s bellies, that they will to follow you “no matter what”. Because you are that difference…

“He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only talking a walk.”

Certified Professional Coach, Communication Specialist & Author

I help motivated but overwhelmed individuals and organizations regain their purpose to lead so they can focus on what matters most to build a transformational legacy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kimunya,
    Thats very profound indeed. Its amazing how many times we look upon other people to lead us whereas we can lead,influence in our own little ways and shape the outcome of our lives and that of others.

    I would recommend this article to those who wish to be leaders of influence including those who are “aspiring to lead”.

    Regards.
    John

  • Brother, being a leader is a hard road sometimes – when the leadership is not frivolous. We need to continue to pray for and encourage real, Biblical, moral leadership.

  • I like. Especially when we talk about positive leadership. The influence of people to deliver positive sustainable reults that are a win-win-win. If one loses in the tripatite partnership, it is a matter of time for the equilibrium to tip over like the Occupier. The leadership practiced here has been what i can call “Me Leadership” as opposed to “Win Leadership”

    • Njihia, your take on “Win Leadership” is indeed interesting. Thank you for the gem.

  • A couple of thoughts on intentional influence, fwiw:

    Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222707

    http://dontapscott.com/ – I like most of what Don does re: tech enablement of collaboration. Please see the link about his CBC Series RE:Civilization; I think it will likely be very informative regardless one’s “Continent of Concern”

    • Ed, your sentiments are very true. Intentional influence is infectious, people cannot help it but catch on with it. Thanks…

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