Describing Leaders: In Charge? Or Influential?
by Leadership Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta
If you asked 20 people to describe the characteristics of a powerful leader today, you’d probably get 20 different answers.
So how can we effectively and concisely describe the essence of a successful leader in our current business environment—with the backdrop of global competition, splintering markets, and whiplash-inducing advances in technology?
One word: influence.
While great leaders years ago were often seen as being in charge, great leaders today are considered influential.
Admittedly, it’s a buzzword that gets a lot of press in the management magazines. But what does it really look like?
Strong leaders do more than build consensus among their teams and work to get buy-in on the corporate mission. Although those are certainly important activities, they also know how to build deeper connections with their team members to increase employee engagement, boost productivity, and improve performance.
It’s more than just convincing employees to go along with the new strategy; it’s about interacting with them in a way that creates wildly enthusiastic, totally committed “strategy ambassadors.” People who are all in. 100%. Full force.
Now that’s influence.
For the record, that type of impact isn’t reserved for executives with a leadership title on their business cards. Anyone can learn to become influential. Bus drivers. Factory workers. Members of the Royal Family. You name it.
Anybody who invests the time to communicate, engage and encourage other people in a more memorable fashion can become an influential leader. It all starts with understanding that your attitudes, words, and behaviors really matter. For better or worse. Everything you do and say makes an impact on the people around you and affects how they feel, react, and respond.
Wow. When you think about it from that angle, it’s a pretty big responsibility.
If you want to position yourself as someone who is influential in today’s business climate, choose to accept that responsibility. Commit to making a positive impact every day, with every person you meet. Demonstrate integrity. Connect on a deeper level. Work to make a difference. Chances are, it won’t be long before you are described as a powerful and highly influential leader.
I discussed more about this topic in a short video, “Quit Defining Leadership the Old Way,” which is part of my series called Top 10 Things You Need to Quit to Be a Better Leader. Click here to watch this video, or check out others on my YouTube channel.