Leadership is all about influence, the more influence we have, the better the leader we can be.
Now there are five sources of influence Position, Knowledge/Expertise, Network, Character, and Success.
Of this position is probably the least important.
Now I appreciate that might seem like a strange thing to say, but if we lack the other sources of influence, then we are very unlikely to get a leadership position.
And if we do somehow manage to get leadership or management position without them, it's highly unlikely that the authority and influence that comes from position alone is going to make us a successful leader.
So we need to be working on the other four sources of influence so that we are effective leaders, as this will firstly help us to land the role and secondly help us to be successful once we are in it
Knowledge and Expertise
When we lack knowledge and expertise, it's unlikely that people are going to listen to, or ask for our opinion, or involve us in the decision-making processes. We don't need to be experts, but we do need to have the expertise, as that will get us into the discussions and allow us to start having influence. One of my favorite quotes is from Harry Truman "Not readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers". Take the time to read as much as possible; we can never have too much knowledge.
The stronger the network, the stronger the leader. Networks are great sources of additional resources, knowledge, expertise and support. As potential leaders, we should be working to build our network, not just connecting with people, but building a strong relationship so that we needed we can call upon these additional resources when needed. There is great value in networks and not just the people that we know, but the people that they know too. A strong network is a tremendous assess and helps provide great influence.
The more trust and respect that people have for us, the more we can influence them. We build trust through our integrity, authenticity and walking the talk. A strong reputation builds a strong ability to influence. The more they can count on us, the more we can count on them.
It doesn't matter what your title is, if you have a poor reputation, people will not follow you very far.
The more success we achieve, the more people will want to be involved with us, as everyone wants to be successful. You only have to take a look at sports to see how easy it is for winning teams to attract good players, and it's the same in business too. But when we achieve success with others, then we must be ready to share the credit, or even better give the team all the credit, as this will act as an influence multiplier.
Leading is more than just giving orders, and commanding people, it's about getting people to go to do things willingly, and to go the extra mile, and this comes from wielding influence, not power.
So if you want to be a leader, or become a better leader start to work on improving and increasing your influence.