There’s a growing majority of people who mistake management and leadership as being synonymous. Management is nothing more than the ability to control resources. Managers organize inventory at the Wal-Mart warehouse, and managers control room bookings at hotels.
And although leadership often involves managing resources like these, leadership is the ability to influence people and as such it has nothing to do with your official position in a company or organization. Let me pause for a moment and re-emphasize this concept: Leadership has nothing to do with your position in a company or organization.
When one child looks at his friends, suggests that they play hide-and-go-seek, and then influences them to join in, he or she has just led those people to be a part of that game. That child, for an instant, was a leader.
When you influence your peers to join you for lunch at Applebee’s, you’re leading. When you influence your spouse to go watch a new movie with you, you’re leading. Any time you influence someone to action, regardless of your position or relationship to that person, you are leading.
Leadership is influence and influence is everyone’s game.
Offline, we want to influence our children to obey, to be motivated about getting good grades and to exhibit good behavior. We want to help our spouse’s be thrifty, hard-working and loving. We want to encourage our friends to make good decisions, our church family to get involved and coworkers to be happier at work.
Online, we often refer to the call-to-action, the moment where we often attempt to lead or influence our readers. We want to lead our readers to leave comments, share our content across social media, purchase our products and much more.
Again, leadership is influence and influence is everyone’s game.
Let’s explore five powerful tools to enhance both your online and offline influence. Here we go:
Empowerment – There are two types of leaders: micro-managers and empowerment leaders. Those who provide their followers with the opportunity to creatively provide solutions to their tasks and responsibilities are often much easier to follow than those who inspect every step of the process and demand that things be done a certain way.
Empowerment leaders simply ensure that those working for them have the resources necessary to accomplish the task and this is key. Much of life is an artistic endeavor. Empower your community by ensuring that they have the tools, information and motivation necessary to do great things and then watch as they explore and create.
Excitement – Nothing fuels friends and followers like genuine passion. When you’re excited, they’re excited and when you can get those around you excited then you can charge hell with a squirt gun. Be positive and watch as it spreads to those around you. Far too often, we cripple our efforts to influence those around us because we spew negativity.
Engagement – With the advent of social media like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, there is an ever growing demographic of users online who are searching for ways to connect and engage with other people. Folks online are drawn to sites where the authors respond to reader’s questions and comments and they’re also drawn offline to leaders who are personable and friendly.
Education – Many people, especially those discovering your website from a search engine, are looking for information on specific topics. They want guides that explain how to do something in a way that is quick and easy to understand. They want to be educated on a particular skill or on a particular bit of knowledge. Wikipedia is a perfect example of a site that appeals to users seeking knowledge. Providing your community, your followers, your friends or your subordinates with good information is vital to their ongoing success. Don’t withhold information.
Entertainment – Many users browse the internet simply to pass the time, to amuse themselves, or to find something to make them laugh. Many television networks are now broadcasting their programming across the internet to draw in this group of online traffic. Youtube is an amazingly popular example of a site that appeals to entertainment focused users. Online or offline, find a way to entertain your followers and you’ll find that you’ve discovered a powerful way to connect with them.
Don’t be a baboon; leave a comment.