You can hardly turn on the television or read a newspaper these days without some mention of someone’s leadership. From politics to business – even in discussions about our various communities and neighborhoods – someone is talking about leadership or its absence. So often we point the finger at those who we consider leaders to applaud their actions, or wag our heads in criticism, never realizing that we all have a role to play in the game called leadership. This article aims to define, discuss, and help us all think about how we can develop our own leadership skills.
You don’t think you are a leader? Well, let’s start there.
Leadership has been defined as the ability to influence. Everyone plays a role in influencing someone else every day. How well one is able to influence people in various situations speaks to the level of leadership that he has with that particular group. For example, in a family, someone plays a role in influencing other family members in some situation during a typical day. Mom might have a leadership role in determining what the family will eat for the day, while Dad might play a leadership role about whether a child of driving age can use the family car for the evening. A child might even play a leadership role in a particular situation about when she is ready to eat. As parents, we are being influenced or led by that child’s actions at that moment to do something. In recreational, work, religious, and educational environments, we are constantly being influenced (led), or influencing (leading) someone in a group (formal or informal) of people. My examples here are to illustrate this simple principle:
Everyone in every group or organization has the ability to influence the activities of others within that group. Where there are at least two people involved in some activity, someone is leading and someone is following at some point during the activity. Roles of influence may change at any given point, but there is a constant lead and follow exchange of influence during the activity. Leadership is influence.
The level of the effectiveness of our leadership depends on how skilled we are at accomplishing some activity that requires the cooperation of two or more people. I once heard it put like this, “If you think you are leading, just look around you. If no one is following, then all you have done is gone on a nice walk.” When leadership is exercised in a manner that influences others to accomplish a task or meet a goal, then leadership is considered effective. So how can you be an effective leader?
How to demonstrate effective leadership in your work place and turn it into long-term financial success.
Thomas Hofler is President and CEO of Lead Again International, a management consulting firm specializing in Leadership and Organizational Development. With over 25 years of experience, he is an author, professional speaker and successful serial entrepreneur who has trained and mentored hundreds of people who have gone on to become accomplished business leaders.