Leadership qualities go beyond simply having followers or giving orders.
If you are a leader of a ten-person team and only two of them follow you, you are not leading.
Influence is a key marker of a leader.
How do you recognize a leader?
It’s not by their prominence.
A leader can be out in front, in the middle, or following behind.
You recognize a leader by the response of their followers. A leader is someone who influences others to follow a course of action when they have a choice:
- A leader is a person who says to others, “follow me!” And, they do.
- A leader is a person who suggests, “I think this is the way to go.” And people go there.
- A leader is a person who takes action. And others join in.
- A leader is a person who does something new and others begin to do it also.
- A leader has genuine followers—people who follow of their own volition.
- If a leader shouts in the woods and no one hears them, are they a leader? No.
Your leadership impact depends on the ability to influence people, not your ability to command, coerce or manipulate.
Your leadership is measured not by what people do when you’re there, but by what they do when you’re not present—when no one is watching and they have the freedom to make personal choices.
So who do people follow after all?
- Leaders they trust
- Leaders who articulate a vision they believe in.
- Leaders who seem to be competent and know what they are doing.
- Leaders whose character they respect.
A person could have any title they want and not be a leader. But if you look closely, you can recognize who the real leaders are in your organization, community, and world.