Influence is the true measure of leadership.
If a person doesn’t have influence, he’ll never be able to lead others, because no one will follow him. “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”
People often misconceive leadership in 5 ways. John Maxwell called them the 5-Myths.
1. Management Myth
Management focuses on maintaining systems or processes. Leadership is to influence people to follow. The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him to create a positive change. Managers can maintain direction but the cannot change it. To move people in a new direction, you need influence.
2. Entrepreneur Myth
Sales and Entrepreneurs can persuade people for a moment. Leadership can hold long-term influence.
3. Knowledge Myth
IQ doesn’t equate to leadership. Many scientists and university professors could think so high, but they may not be leaders.
4. Pioneer Myth
Being the first isn’t always the same as leading. Anyone that is out of the crowd is a leader.
5. Position Myth
It’s not the position that makes the leader, it’s the leader that makes the position.
When people find someone has an impressing title or a signed leadership position, they assume he is a leader. Titles don’t have much value when it comes to leading. True leadership can’t be awarded, pointed or signed. It comes only from influence. and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned
John Maxwell explained this law using the story of Princess Diana. When Princess Diana married to Prince Charles, she was painfully shy and totally overwhelmed by all the attention. However, she kept adjusting to do her new role. She traveled around, represented the royal family in various functions and built many important relationships with politicians, organizers and entertainers. At first, she was simply a spokesperson. But as time went by, her influence increased. Even after she divorced with Prince Charles, she lost her title, but that loss didn’t at all diminish her impact. Instead, her influence overweighed her former husband and in-laws. Even in death, Diana continued to influence others. Her impact didn’t come because she once had a title. She made things happen because she was an influencer.
The last paragraph in the chapter essentially captures what this law is about. ” If you cannot influence others, they won’t follow you. And if they won’t follow you, you are not a leader.
Colin Powell— “You have achieved excellence as a leaders when people will follow you everywhere if only out of curiosity”-
Leadership is influence.