The law of influence: The true measure of leadership is influence – Nothing more, nothing less: If you don’t have influence, you will never be able to lead others. The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of influence with others or to undermine it. The proof of leadership is found in the followers.
In this life, I’ve been exposed to many different leaders. Some of these people were designated, while others emerged over time. In my opinion, it is always an easier task to be the “New Sheriff” in town where others must take time to develop their opinions and impressions about you. An advantage that this affords is that you have the opportunity to culture your skills and effectively start over fresh each time. A few important aspects you should consider if you find yourself in a place of leadership that effects influence is you must maintain a reasonable amount of insulation between you and the people you intend on leading or even those who you may potentially be in the position to lead. Efficiently dealing with personnel duties without becoming emotionally involved, but projecting empathy is one facet. A second component to consider is to say less. Loose lips sink ships. The more you disclose to others that you lead, the more your credibility and reputation may come into question. I have always been able to count on people talking and disclosing more about themselves that they really should. That is an important tidbit for any leader to remember. Don’t fall into the chasm that is your big mouth. True leaders are able to exercise discretion and restraint. A third thing to consider, but certainly not the last, is about give-and-take. You really should avoid being in the position of taking from the people you lead. It might be a personal favor, or it may be material good, or it might be friendship. In doing so, you potentially compromise your professional relationship and cast a shadow on yourself in the eyes of others you lead who may perceive that justice does not prevail in your shop, or favoritism exists, or that they must also attempt to build these pseudo relationships with you as well. This only leads to moral decay and the consumption of valuable productivity we can never have too much of.