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.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

38 Comments

  • Mike Stenger says:

    Excuse you, I’m a silverback gorilla, not a baboon..

  • Kristel says:

    Haha, that last sentence worked indeed. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  • Kavya Hari says:

    Yeah, its really nice article about leaders. And,those points would be more helpful to become a good leader in the future period 🙂

  • Delena says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    Great distinction here. So many people miss the point, I think, and figure that just because they are in a position of power (mgmt) they are therefore a leader.

    Yet I’ve seen so many examples of bad leadership simply by virtue of misunderstanding their role. No one gives respect where it wasn’t earned, and leaders definitely understand the value of earning a person’s respect with integrity and intelligence.

    Delena

    • I think you’re right here, Delena. Just as some in a position of leadership fail to properly lead, I’ve also seen many people rally folks around them and lead others on to accomplish great things even when they aren’t in any official position.

      I appreciate your comment. Thanks.

  • Thomas says:

    Hi Nicholas

    I will try to keep that in mind for my next blog post. Thank you for the tips.

  • Hey Nicholas,

    “charge hell with a squirt gun.” I love the excitement factor! It’s that buzz you get when you have that great idea which you know is going to work. Your colleagues also get the buzz from your idea, because they know it’s going to work. In those few minutes you are the leader!

    Cool examples Nicholas!

  • Great post dude. You make a great point with the implementation of empowerment over micro management.

    So many company leaders struggle with the ability to understand how to positively affect their employees.

    Praising people’s strengths and fueling their excitement is where they need to be, not jumping on their cases and scrutinizing their every action.

    Definitely an article a lot of people should read, Nick.

  • Jed Langdon says:

    Excellent post Nicholas, I’m glad I found this.

    You’re so right when you say that anyone can be a leader, and yet so many people still think only those in management positions are leaders. Furthermore social media tools are offering people even more opportunities to demonstrate their leadership.

    I guess I subconsciously think about your 5 E’s when I’m using social media, but this post has really made me stop and think about what I’m doing – thanks for that!

    Some great comments on here too!

    Cheers,
    Jed

    • Thanks, Jed. It’s true that blogging and social media have allowed folks to rise organically as leaders without the pretense of an artificial title so step up and rally your community.

  • I was starting to wonder abut you my friend, it’s been a bit of time between posts.

  • Nishant Soni says:

    Some really nice points you’ve put there. My 2 cents:

    1. Ability to Influence:
    Most important quality of a leader is he should have the ability to influence people. May be the decisions, point of views, others confidence in you. Because unless you can influence people , there is no point in you being a leader.

    By influence I mean, people should look upto you every time they need help or every time they are doing something new.

    • I would posit that leadership doesn’t require influence, but rather it IS influence. If you’re not moving people to action, you’re not leading. Here’s the true test of leadership: Look behind you and if no one is following then you’re not leading, you’re only taking a walk.

  • anthonynlee says:

    i definitely like how you are calling out the distinct difference between management and leadership.
    you are absolutely correct, leadership is not an organizational position, it is something you exhibit.
    i don’t know that simply leading (as in the examples you provide, such as getting someone to go with you to the movies) necessarily makes you a leader (outside denotative definition), but i see where you are going with the whole influence thing.
    i think it may go a bit deeper than that. some say that being a leader means to inspire. some say being a leader is getting people to do things they wouldn’t have thought of without you.
    influence is the biggest part of that, inspiration plays a role too.
    either way, your five points are spot on. and it is interesting that they all start with the letter E.
    did you do that on purpose?

    • I must confess that I did do that on purpose.

      I used the example of the movies or playing a game among friends because I believe that leadership can span from a very simple piece of influence to being able to move people to storm castles with you. I believe the fun is in learning how to develop ourselves and our relationships so that we can find ourselves powerfully influential and using that influence to accomplish great things with those who would join us.

  • Talking about leadership, it’s one of those qualities you can nurture but you can’t discover, you either have it or not. The tools you describe can help you leverage on your leadership skills, but you have to have them first. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being the “center of the group”, so to say, but it’s a combination of will to do something, courage to take the situation in your hands and, at least initially, also luck for the situation to go as it should, since you can’t control 100% of all the variables at play, and leaders failing miserably most likely won’t have to lead much in the future.

  • ah hong says:

    The last statement influence the reader to drop a comment. What a tactic from a leader. Frankly I don’t want to be a manager in the future and rather I want to be a leader, Nick 🙂

  • steven papas says:

    Very well-studied analysis Nic. I like how you transfer the terms of “Leadership” and “Management” in blogging.
    Another difference I ‘ve seen, between these two, is that managing is an ability that can be taught/learnt but leadership is mostly inherited and then cultivated to improve.

  • The 5 E’s. I love it. What a great way to help us remember these tools. You’re absolutely right. Leaders emerge with or without a position. And there are a number of ways to influence others.

    Great info.

  • Kristy Krupka says:

    Great article. I will retweet and Facebook for sure.

  • Terry says:

    All good tips, Nicholas. I’m very much a believer of the philosophy of karma, or what goes around comes around. Give your readers/teams/friends exactly what you’d want in return, and more than often it’s exactly what you’ll get.

  • bernadettekellly says:

    I really enjoyed reading this….nice to read blogs from like-minded people! Very humorous as well!

  • Wesley Wise says:

    I completely agree! 🙂 Leaders come in any form, gender or status because leaders are those who take responsibility and take action to a duty. They influence other people to be the best or do what’s best.

  • Brad Harmon says:

    Great points, Nicholas. Too often we look to official titles to determine who a leader is or not, but all of us know of people who are natural born leaders. Like you said, we all are.

    Thinking about leadership as influence changes the whole dynamic, but I think you’re spot on. It also removes that age old excuse of I’m no leader.

    Leadership falls on all of us from time to time in our various roles in life. Chances are that someone is always following us too. It’s an awesome responsibility, isn’t it?

    • I couldn’t agree more. I read some amazing books about the subject from John Maxwell. He’s authored dozens of the books on the subject and I personally own and have read nearly 20 of them. I love the subject and like you, I believe that it is an awesome responsibility, but it can also lead to great power for good.

  • I’m definitely not a baboon. Haha. Anyway, great article, Nicholas. Being a leader sure is hard but someone has got to do it either way or else we’d all be in big trouble.

  • Philip says:

    Hey Nicolas, in my opinion excitement is the easiest and most powerful way to influence the crowd around you…especially the glow of excitement in your eyes is a powerful ‘weapon’ to convince and activate people you.

    By the way…cool blog!

    Thx Philip

    • Thanks, Philip. I agree with you that excitement is an incredibly powerful tool in a leader’s arsenal. When folks see that you’re truly passionate about something, it’s much easier for them to buy into the project or cause. That passion, that excitement is contagious.

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