How to Define Leadership

It is Said that Leadership is Influence

If you ask people, “What is leadership?” you may get some of the following responses:

  • Leadership is being in a position of power
  • Leadership is having people follow you
  • Leadership is guiding the way so that people can easily follow

All are true answers, but there is a simpler definition of leadership.  John Maxwell puts it simply: Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.

Leadership is influence

But how do we come about with that simple definition?  Isn’t there more to leadership than influence?  Certainly there’s the position, the expertise, and many other pieces of a good leader right?  The truth is that influence is the fundamental aspect of a leader; the rest follows along.

What is Influence?

best auto body repair in BillingsLet’s break it down a little more.  Suppose you are riding a horse, and you want to change the direction that the horse is heading.  You tug on the reins, give a little kick, and the horse moves.  The influence you put on the reins and with your heels lead the horse to go in the direction that you want.

Suppose you are in charge of a group of young boys.  You want to rally them together to clean up a local park.  You organize a contest to see who can collect the most trash, you offer a pizza party at the end of the cleanup day, and you have guidelines that if they don’t participate in the community events they may not be able to be a part of the group anymore.  You influence them through rewards and punishments to accomplish a task bigger than any of them individually.

Influence is simply the ability to guide and direct a person (or group of people) toward a common goal.

What Leadership (Influence) is Not

There are many more examples that we could give on what is influence.  But there are a few things that people believe to be leadership traits that simply are not true.

Leadership isn’t given.  Because you’re promoted at work to a position where people work under you, doesn’t mean that you’re a leader.  If you have been thrust to a position of power, those under you will only do what is required in order to maintain their job and stay on relatively good terms.  But if you ask them to go over and above, it won’t be met with enthusiasm.

Leadership is not discovered.  Let’s suppose you discover a new way to make widgets.  This new way is going to revolutionize the widget industry, and you’re going to lead a team to success because you made this discovery.  Just because you’re the first, doesn’t mean that people will follow your dream.  They want to be a part of the dream, not just support yours.

Leadership is not taught.  Here’s a tricky one.  Leadership skills and concepts can be taught, but gaining knowledge doesn’t lead to leadership.  Gaining knowledge can actually lead to the opposite as you may become seen as pretentious.  It’s a tricky balance of knowing the concepts, implementing them, and practicing them.


How to Become an Influencer

You can’t be born a leader, you can discover it, and you can’t (for all intents and purposes) learn it.  So how do you become a leader; an influencer?  It starts with the right attitude.

Your position as a leader is to help drive other people toward a common goal.  As the leader you have to discover that goal, and influence others around you.  But the tricky aspects are making sure that those around you see the goal as their goal, or perhaps “our goal.”  It’s not just yours, you are influencing them to be a part of the team.

Big Sky Collision Center Trains Leaders

Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we often say that we train leaders, we just happen to be good at fixing cars.  The truth is that the more we invest in people, the better the business becomes.

Of course, if you’re looking for the best collision repair center in Billings, then you’ve come to the right place.  Give us a call at 406-259-6328 for more details.

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