John Maxwell has so wonderfully made the point that Leadership is Influence, plain and simple. It can also be described:
Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Definitions more inclusive of followers have also emerged. Alan Keith of Genentech states that, “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” According to Ken “SKC” Ogbonnia, “effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals.”
My personal definition that I have adopted or come up with is, “Influence that has the power to persuade people to achieve, be engaged, and to perform at a level higher than ever imagined. I believe a part of Leadership’s Influence is to identify and extract potential.”
When I am doing a consulting job with an organization, the first and foremost things I want to know from the head leadership:
1. What is the Vision Statement / Mission / Goals
2. What kind of Leadership Structure do you have
3. What is your Leadership Style
4. Who are the INFLUENCERS? (Not necessarily the leaders but rather the Influencers)
One of the common mistakes I see all the time in the church world is the Team. I always say, “It takes a Team to manifest the Dream!” I totally believe it, and according to John Maxwell again, “Everything rises and falls on Leadership.” It probably isn’t so obvious in the business world, but in the church world it is usually the biggest obstacle to being fluid, growing, and successful to the mission. I see a common mistake made by smaller organizations over and over again.
1. The person in Leadership capacity doesn’t really have influence
2. Leadership has privilege without responsibility
3. The problems within the dynamics of the organization are from people who have the influence but not serving in a leadership capacity.
I suppose there are many theories and ideas about the best leadership style. I personally believe it has to be a style that is natural for the leader, and one that fits the culture of the organization. But the Leader must grow and work on his style before he can ever induce a positive change in the culture of the organization. Most organizations are stuck, unproductive, and full of disengaged people by the virtue of the fact that the leader has ceased to grow, but yet still trying to change the culture of the organization. This can also be the result of the people of the organization wanting change and the leadership not willing to change themselves.
On one of such consulting jobs, I came to an organization that was losing money, a total disengaged workforce, with little or no enthusiasm. We had our initial consulting time, and through it I discovered these very mistakes were made. People without influence were leading, and those with the influence had been on the back burner so to speak, and almost out the door. Within three months of implementing the changes to the leadership team, and upgrading the style; I’m happy to say that it doesn’t even look like the same organization! The Leadership is stabilized, has momentum, and the most finances that it has received in years. (Even in this economy) People are engaged and plugged back in to the vision.
Don’t underestimate your Team! If you have a Dream for your organization you better build a Team!