Magnetic Influence

John Maxwell defines leadership as “influence – nothing more, nothing less.”  I agree with him. We’ve all been around influential leaders.  We tend to know one when we see/hear one.  History has revealed influential leaders introducing great things such as peace, service, prosperity, and unity.  Other influential leaders will forever be known for destruction, hate, fear, and death.

So how do you become a more effective, influential leader (of course, the positive kind)?  Is it the position you rise to that determines your influence?  Is it the number of people you have “under” you?  Is it the letters after your name (i.e. CEO, CFO, etc.)?  Is it the neighborhood or club you live in/belong to?

I recently read a book by Dani Johnson.  Hers is a story of starting off life in more than dani johnsondifficult circumstances.  She took personal responsibility, focused, and turned her life around.  She has spoken in front of hundreds of thousands and has been interviewed in front of millions.  She teaches what she did to become successful.

She teaches about FOCUS.  “Whatever you focus on is what you get good at.”  This is a simple but true statement.  Zig Ziglar reminded us how important focus is.  He has asked his audiences how they prepare to go on vacation.  He outlined how we all make lists, attack those lists, and get so much done in the week or two before we embark on the trip.

He then asked how our work performance would change if we approached it as we did on vacation prep. Ouch!  Dani writes this describing her own personal realization about focus:

“Chitchatting with coworkers was not going to make that happen.  Sitting at my desk and thinking about what I might do that day was not going to make that happen. Tinkering with different activities that had nothing to do with getting results had to stop….”

We spend lots of things, but when we spend time, it’s gone.  When we invest our time, great things can happen.

So, you want to become an influential leader?  How are you investing your time?  How’s your focus?

“If you’re not faithful with your time, you life spins out of control.  Your life gets sucked into destruction.  Your life gets trapped in an unproductive cycle that destroys your confidence and eventually leads to depression.  However, if you are faithful with your time and if you focus, you will be given more.”

Today, let’s focus.  Do the work and get results.  Insure the team you’ve been blessed to lead understands their mission today.  As a leader, you get results through others.  Are you?  Focus and help your team focus.  It is not a drudgery.  Focused performance is full of purpose and meaning.

In your personal routine, add activities that will help you grow your influence.  Read.  Spend time with quality leaders.  Be mentored.  Invest your time instead of spending it.

Reach your potential.  Grow your influence.  We need you to be the influential leader you can become!

focus quote by George Lucas

A Leader’s Five Journeys by Dr. Matt Lucas

sunset rise road

Leadership always reveals our inner qualities. You can fake it for awhile, displaying an easy-going spirit you heard about in a leadership podcast, but eventually the truth will out. Then there are those of us who do not try to disguise it and all the gunk from our inner selves splatters on those around us (think: Elon Musk).

Leadership puts your truest self on display if for no other reason than others are watching, either because they’re paid to follow or they’re deciding if they will continue. And nothing reveals the inner self of leaders like stress, challenges, unforeseen obstacles and failure.

When I think of leadership from this perspective, the metaphor of journey comes to mind. Some of the greatest stories of the world are stories of epic journeys: The OdysseyThe Divine ComedyPilgrims ProgressThe Adventures of Huckleberry FinnAlice’s Adventures in WonderlandCharlie and the Chocolate Factory. While the plot of each story focuses on the trials and challenges experienced along the way, the true journey is the learning and growth of the hero or heroine.

Anyone who has been a leader can relate to this. While the story that everyone sees are the challenges and trials the leader navigates, the true journey is the inward one where the leader grows and learns. I have found that every leader has five journeys to take:

1.    Followership journey- from independence to dependence where we learn that we are better together.

2.    Stewardship journey- from selfishness to generosity where we learn that it is easy to give what we do not own.

3.    Leadership journey

Read the rest of this article and follow Dr. Lucas here:

Dr. Matt Lucas is the Chancellor at Indiana Wesleyan University National & Global.

iwu shine brighter