Ken Blanchard once said, “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” Stan Toler wrote, “Good leaders know that more is accomplished by empowering others than by commanding them.” Chuck Swindoll said, “Anyone who influences others is a leader.” Bottom line, all leaders are influencers, and since we all influence others, we are all leaders. As Jocko Willink said, "If you are a human being and you interact with other people, you are a leader.”
The question you need to ask yourself is, “How am I influencing others as a leader?”. What kind of influencer are you for the rest of your team? Do your actions and words create a positive influence for your people? When you come face to face with strangers, what kind of influence do you have on them? These are important questions to ask, as we strive to better ourselves and our leadership.
When we come to understand that we are all leaders, and that our actions and words have power to influence others, then what we do and what we say should be considered carefully. James said it best when wrote, "The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. Out of the same mouth comes praises and cursing." We must take heed of everything that comes out of our mouth. Our words have the power to bring death or life. In the words of Toby Mac, "So speak life; to the deadest darkest night. Speak life; when the sun won't shine and you don't know why. Look into the eyes of the broken-hearted. Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love, you speak life."
We have the power to influence others in either a positive or negative way. This isn't new information for any of us, but how often do we stop and think about how powerful our influence is on those around us. Words are powerful, but our actions are just as powerful if not more. The saying holds true, "Actions speak louder than words." As the Apostle John wrote, "Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." We need to be men and women of our word, and the way we do that is to make our actions match our words. People will pay more attention to what we do rather than what we say. People appreciate follow through and want to see our words backed up by our actions. We must lead in a way that our words are never questioned, as we consistently show truth in what we say by how we act.
Actions can encompass many things, but one thing we don't think about when it comes to actions is the simple act of how we look at others. Our facial expressions tell a story of unspoken words. Most people walk around with an indifferent, disinterested look. What do you feel more drawn to, a blank, disinterested facial expression or a welcoming, available facial expression? As an influencer, the most simple act of how we look at others can determine the kind of influence we have on others. In leadership, we need to be aware of our facial expressions. When we meet with others, talk with others, or simply walk by others, it's important to remember to turn our disinterested, blank facial expressions into warm, welcoming ones. After all, leadership is about building relationships, and relationships start with our interactions with others.
Remember, you are a leader. You do not need a special title or position to be a leader. If you interact with people, you are a leader. Because you are a leader, you have the power of influence. Be sure that your influence promotes relationship, encouragement, and positivity. Be a person of your word, and let your actions show your words to be true. Keep yourself in check and be an influencer that encourages others to better themselves.
As always, stay humble and serve well!