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Leadership Lessons: Leadership is Influence

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Mrs. Jones’s daughter is getting married in the early afternoon in a ceremony at her home. One of her two A/C units is down. She calls Chilly Willy Air, and Theresa, the CSR, answers. Mrs. Jones is a club service agreement member. 

It’s the hottest day of the year, and Chilly Willy Air is completely booked, even for club service agreement members. It takes Theresa two seconds to ascertain the gravity of Mrs. Jones’s situation, and she responds, “We don’t have any openings today, but let me get with Barb, our dispatcher. We’ll get right back to you.” 

With the help of Jerry, the lead tech, Barb works the type of magic that only a seasoned dispatcher can do. She explains Theresa’s urgency and calls Mrs. Jones back, telling her that Jerry will be out later that morning.  

Do you think Mrs. Jones looks at Theresa and Barb as positive centers of influence? Not to mention Jerry, who was able to get the system back online! Do you think this experience will inspire Mrs. Jones to refer Chilly Willy Air to her friends, family, and acquaintances?  

Leadership is Influence 

According to John C. Maxwell, leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Maxwell is a leadership expert with over 50 years of practical leadership experience in his own organizations, over 65 books written, and thousands of lives positively affected.  

What if all of your coworkers positively influence customers like Theresa, Barb, and Jerry? What if they positively influenced each other, their families, and the community? Can you imagine the possibilities!? 

If leadership is influence, and it is, then the most direct path to teaching your coworkers how to be of influence is through basic leadership training.  

Basic Leadership Training 

If all your coworkers take part in the type of basic leadership training that supports Maxwell’s belief that leadership is influence, then at the least, they will be in a position to positively influence each other, their families, community, and customers. 

The prize in this basic leadership training box of Cracker Jacks is that you will develop a pipeline for future company managers and leaders. Their skills and competencies will surface, while at the same time, both you and they will be able to determine if management is the best path forward for them. 

Leadership Transcends Job Titles 

Leadership is not limited to company owners, general managers, and department managers. Into my 40th year in the HVAC industry, one of the strongest leaders I’ve ever worked with was a service technician apprentice. This gentleman was a positive influence on everyone he came in contact with. He had a calming presence that manifested confidence in himself and others. 

The Essential Elements of Leadership 

The following factors are essential to basic leadership education and to become a positive influence.  

Character - This is who you are as a person. Be authentic, be who you are. 

 Relationships - Who you know. Develop relationships with those who not only share your interests but those who help complement and broaden them. 

Knowledge - What you know. Pursue incremental learning. 

Intuition - What you feel. Reflect on experiences in a journal. 

Experience - Where you’ve been. Be intent and engineer experiences. 

Past Success - What you’ve done. Pursue epic stuff so that you’ll have a steady stream of past achievements. 

Ability - What you can do. Use deliberate practice on your strengths.  

Leadership is learned daily, not in a day. Leadership education, execution, and reflection are all part of the daily journey toward leading others. 

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. 

Dave Rothacker
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Posted In: ACCA Now, Leadership & Planning, Leadership Development, Print Edition

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