There can be no leadership without influence, because influencing, including through the power of example, is the way leaders lead. There is a profound difference between leadership and management. Both are important within an organization, but management is a process and can only be implemented on the basis of skills, while leadership has more of self-knowledge, self-management, self-development.
Sam Walton, the entrepreneur who created Walmart, said that “outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish”. It’s one of the positive effects that leaders generate in the company with the influence they have on teammates.
Often the “manager or leader” dilemma?
Both the managers and the leaders want to achieve the goals of the organization. Managers do it by planning, organizing, structuring processes, assigning tasks, monitoring and measuring outcomes. But managers also use influence because only part of managerial work cannot be achieved only through control and use of authority. When managers have to create the environment in which people are motivated, involved in self-development and want their performance, they can not do it only through command and control methods.
What are people waiting for?
People respond best when involved in consultation and/or decision processes, they work best when they are listening to the process improvement proposals. Team people remain loyal and involved when they feel respected, confident, well-informed and work in an environment where they feel they are continually developing. That’s why exceptional leaders and managers are turning to coaching/mentoring tools and open up emotionally. They constantly work with themselves to provide the best example to all of their colleagues in the company.
How do leaders lead?
Leaders lead by mobilizing people around a convincing vision of the future, inspiring them to follow the steps of the leader. They show people what is possible and motivate them to make these possibilities come true. Leaders inspire and stimulate group members, convincing them to follow their vision, actions, ideas.
Leaders are followed because:
- They inspire trust and credibility, proving an extraordinary capacity to develop relationships
- They proficiently demonstrate competence and integrity, being models for team members
- They have an attitude of valuing people, paying attention to them and their problems
Leaders energize the team and focus on people, give them a vision and a goal for their contribution to the company, which leads to a deep sense of fulfillment at the end of each working day. Leaders lead by shaping the ways of thinking or acting of colleagues, but also by encouraging new ways to look at situations. In this way, people give the courage to find their own WHY, as part of that WHY the organization.
Wrapping it all together
In many cases, leaders are also managers, and managers and many other colleagues in the organization are also leaders. The art of driving is knowing when to use authority and when to use influence, when to ask questions and when to express opinions or to communicate decisions, when to challenge challenges and when to blame behaviors.
As an entrepreneur, I have led teams of several people and teams of hundreds of people. Regardless of the situation or the size of the team, I have felt that my behavioral, communication, decision-making model was evaluated and transferred in varying proportions and different ways to the team, whether I wanted it or not. That’s why I chose to work constantly with me so I can propose my best version as a model, always keeping the courage and ability to be both authentic and human.