2. The Law of Influence

The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership is Influence- Nothing More, Nothing Less

And if you don’t have influence, you will never be able to lead others. p. 11

I think that’s a great way to start this entry off. If you don’t impact the people you’re around or that you’d like to lead, you haven’t made any difference.

When the real leader speaks, people listen. p. 13

The main difference between the two is that leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes. p. 14

The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him to create positive change. Managers can maintain direction, but often they can’t change it. p. 14

Entrepreneurs are skilled at seeing opportunities and going after them. They see needs and understand how to meet them in a way that produces profit. p.14

Another misconception is that anyone who is out in front of the crowd is a leader. But being first isn’t always the same as leading…To be a leader, a person has to not only be out front, but also have people intentionally coming behind him,  following his lead, and acting on his vision. Being a trendsetter is not the same as being a leader. p. 15

Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, observed, “Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” – p.16

In fact, that is often one of the main differences between managers and leaders. Leaders seek to recognize and influence intangibles such as energy, morale, timing, and momentum. p. 17

The greater the challenges you’ve faced as a leader in the past, the more likely followers are to give you a chance in the present. Experience doesn’t guarantee credibility, but it encourages people to give you a chance to prove that you are capable. p. 17

Leadership is:

  • Character- Who They Are
  • Relationships- Who They Know
  • Knowledge- What They know
  • Intuition- What They Feel
  • Experience- Where They’ve Been
  • Past Success- What They’ve Done
  • Ability- What They Can do

If you can’t influence people, then they will not follow you. And if people won’t follow, you are not a leader. That’s the Law of Influence. No matter what anybody else may tell you, remember that leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less.

I appreciate the Law of Influence. It’s so simple and yet so profound at the same time. People are constantly trying to come up with the new perfect definition of leadership. But it all boils down to getting people to follow you. Hopefully you lead them in the right direction. And a huge part of that is trust. Leadership requires trust. Let’s check out the application portion of the chapter!

1. I would say I bought into the position myth and the pioneer myth. I think the first person to do something positive is indeed a leader, but to the point of the passage, only if it spurs other people to follow in the same positive direction. But in general, I would say the first person to do something is a leader. Same thing applies for position. Although titles aren’t everything, I think they are a large component of leadership. Most positional leaders had to do something to get to that position, whether they deserve it or not. I get Maxwell’s point though. This just means that if I’m going to be the first person to do something, I need to be the best person to do something as well. And if I aspire to be in a position of power, I need to earn it and live up to it once it is attained.

2. The next exercise asks me to rank myself on how much I depend on the following attributes to influence others:

  • Character- Who You Are (10)
  • Relationships- Who You Know (9)
  • Knowledge- What You Know (6)
  • Intuition- What You Feel (8)
  • Experience- Where You’ve Been (8)
  • Past Success- What You’ve Done (8)
  • Ability- What You Can Do (10)

To better utilize the ones with lower scores, I feel as if I simply need to gauge who I’m talking to since that will determine the most effective means of influencing someone. I feel as if I use pretty much all of these on a regular basis though.

3. The third exercise is to apply your leadership abilities to a cause or volunteer organization. That’s what I currently do with the Chess Mentoring Program. I have been able to build some momentum and I look forward to building and leading a team towards our collective vision.

The Law of Influence, Ladies and Gentlemen!


About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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