How YOU Lead Matters!

authentic leadership authority ethical influence impact influence leadership leadership in management leadership myths management positional leadership positive leadership supervision Nov 17, 2023
Leadership Myths

Having addressed how the idea of leadership is so often misunderstood, tying back to some of the most common myths around leadership, and hashing out what it is and what it’s not, let’s dig into why it even matters before detailing some of the specifics you and I can each do to make the positive impact the people around us deserve from effective leadership.

In one of the last chapters of What’s Killing Your Profitability?, I referenced something I’ve heard John Maxwell comment on frequently over the last several years as he’s taught leadership at the very highest levels in countries around the world. John said what he sees all too often is leaving him “leadership sad,” meaning not nearly enough people in positions of authority are actually leading in a way that positively impacts the people who count on them. Through the interaction Cindy and I have had personally with Mark Cole over the last decade or so, we’ve heard him frequently emphasize that “everyone deserves to be led well!” (Not many know this yet but I can’t resist sharing it with you right now… Mark wrote the foreword to What’s Killing Your Profitability?)

You and I could both point to countless examples of people in positions of authority who are far more insistent on dictating commands than serving their teams in a way that empowers them to achieve outstanding results - even without me getting pissed off and going down the rabbit hole of all the poliTICKS putting far more effort into controlling their constituents and lining their own pockets than anything they could possibly do to earn authentic influence. With that being the case, and since just typing the word poliTICKS annoys me, let’s stick with why the way you and I lead from right where we are matters so much to each person we interact with - regardless of any positional relationship we have with them…

It’s probably been 15 or 20 years ago but I still remember conversations with my Granny about the roles she was volunteering in. She lived in the independent living part of a large retirement community at the time. She was in her 80s and got around really well. She helped out in the community store for an hour or two a few days each week and she sat at the front desk for a couple of hours one evening each week, greeting visitors after the main doors were locked for the day. Granny was one the kindest people I’ve ever known, and she was also incredibly humble. She often said she knew she couldn’t do much at that point in her life but she was happy to help out where she could. The part that sticks with me the most was how caring she was and how many people made comments to me and Cindy about the impact her warm demeanor made in their day.

Leadership doesn’t have to be about control! In fact, I’d argue that Granny’s example makes a pretty strong case for how leadership is more about the lasting positive impact we can have on anyone we interact with than it is about being in charge. Make no mistake though, there are certainly times where leaders in any organization have to make hard decisions and have tough conversations. We’ll begin working through that soon. For now, I’ll just challenge you to consider how much more effective we can be in those difficult times when we’ve done the work in advance to earn authentic influence with the people around us - because that’s what I’ve seen help leaders be more effective than any level of power or authority…