Most of the leadership experts in the world will agree that leadership is influence. Where does that influence come from and is the influence positive or negative? What type of influence does your leadership generate? Do you rely more on your title or who you are as a person to influence others?
Early in my career I was mentored by a leader who really didn’t care about his title. His name was Bud and he managed the machine shop in our company. The day I met him I asked him what his title was and he told me he didn’t have a title; I should just call him by his first name.
Bud cared more about getting things done by helping people than telling people what to do. I spent 90 days at his side learning his operation, but not so I could become a machinist. Bud wanted me to learn his operation so that when I generated my monthly financial report on his operation’s performance, I would know what I was talking about. He equipped me to prepare an accurate assessment for the president of how his operation was performing. Bud didn’t worry about what the report said; he just wanted it to be accurate.
I worked at that company with Bud for almost 10 years. I have kept his lesson with me through my entire career and to this day: I really don’t care about titles. I believe that people will call me what they want to call me, but most importantly, I want them to know I care about them and want to help them succeed. What I learned from Bud was that leadership is about empowering others to be successful.
Bud had the heart of a leader and his behaviors (his life) reflected his talk. When he did what he said he was going to do, he added value to the people around him. He had the credibility to influence others not from his title but from his heart.
How do you and I become servant leaders like Bud? Ask yourself these questions today and see where you need to make some changes.
- Am I consistent in my behavior? In other words, are you the same person no matter who you’re with?
- Do you focus decisions on what is best for others or what is best for you?
- Do you work harder on your image or on your behaviors?
- Do you take credit for your peoples’ work or do you recognize them for the work they do?
- Do you rely on your title to influence others?
Leaders need to look at themselves first. They should be honest about their EGO and challenge themselves to put others first.
Success is all about what we accomplish as individuals but real significance is all about what others accomplish with your love and support. Leadership is all about influence, good and bad.
Let your leadership influence be about serving others instead of serving yourself. Your influence as a leader will grow and will positively impact the lives of others. Our influence as leaders has less to do with our title and more to do with how we behave and live our life.