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By Coach Tanya Powell

Do You Have Influence?

I know you have heard this time and time again:


These are the words echoed by John Maxwell in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Often times the word Leadership is misunderstood. We tend to think that if someone has an impressive title or an assigned leadership position, they are automatically the leader. Now, sometimes that is true but the true leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. True leadership comes from Influence and must be earned.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Have you ever given instructions to your team and they all turn and look for response queues from one person? Well that’s simply because, the person in any given room that has the most influence at any given time, for any given reason is the leader of that group. It therefore stands that no matter who you are, no matter where you serve, if you have influence with people, you can lead them.

A key Question - How can I increase my influence?

In his book Becoming a Person Of Influence, co-authored with Jim Dornan, John notes that everyone has influence; As he puts it “In fact, if your life in any way connects with other people, you are an influencer. Everything you do at home, work, church, in your job has an impact on the lives of others”[1]. What we also know is that it doesn’t come instantaneously. It grows by stages.

Let’s start by recognizing that the influence you have with people is driven from their perception of who you are. Think about the persons around you, your family, friends, team, how do they respond to you? In essence, you can’t build influence without other people. The key element is whether you are borrowing influence or earning influence?

Every leader either borrows influence or earns it. When people give you permission to lead in their lives because of your actions, you’ve earned influence. When people give you permission to lead in their lives because of your words, you’ve borrowed influence.

So the question for you is, which kind of influence do you have? Are you borrowing influence or are you earning it?

If you’re borrowing it, the good news is that you can make the shift toward earning it easily. Taking action and producing positive results with your team is the best way to convert borrowed influence into earned. And once you’ve earned influence, it’s easier still to build on that! As you guide your people through more and greater challenges, you build up earned influence that allows the team to take even bigger risks, which can yield even greater rewards.

Leadership is influence, and the best kind of influence comes when people give you permission to lead in their lives based on your actions. If you want to get real influence, you have to get busy—and earn it from the people you lead.

[1] Becoming a Person Of Influence – John Maxwell – pg. 3


Written by COACH Tanya Powell

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