Book reviews · Definitions

Influence

I’m not sure who said this first since I’ve heard or read it in multiple places over the years, but one of the simplest definitions of leadership I have heard is stated this way by leadership writer John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence.”

As I take time in 2015 to blog regularly about leadership I wanted to start with this basic idea.  It captures the notion that everyone can exercise leadership because all of us are able to have an influence on the people and events around us.  Not all leadership is exercised for good and not everyone with a ‘leadership title’ is truly leading; there are plenty of people quietly influencing the people around them without even being recognized for their leadership contributions.

As I think about my professional development for 2015 I want to find ways to expand the scope and quality of my influence.  I’m slowly and deliberately working my way through a book by John Maxwell entitled Developing the Leader Within You and so far I am finding a number of insights worth pondering (you may have seen me tweet about some of them @asbiv when I’ve shared leadership quotes in the past month or so).  In the past I have found leadership books frustrating because I don’t have an official leadership role or a set of direct reports that I can point to as those whom I lead.  But thinking about leadership as influence opens up a wider vista of opportunities to exercise positive leadership.  That’s something I’m looking forward to learning more about.

How about you?  Do you have a favorite definition of leadership or favorite leadership writer to whom you turn for inspiration?  I’d love to know so feel free to comment here or tweet at me.  Thanks.

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