Most of us have not been formally mentored. We have not had a great, successful leader take us under their wing and teach us to lead. They have not gone step by step through the various situations we will encounter and show us how to get through them. Most of us have learned by watching!
We have been influenced by someone we respect, who was in a leadership role. We watched how they handled different things, some uncomfortable, and have found ourselves handling things, some uncomfortable, the same way. Perhaps even thinking the question, “what would they have done?”
That man in my life was the president of the college I attended. He was the one who allowed me to enter on academic probation. He was the one who asked me every week how I was doing. He was the one who hired me, seven years after I graduated, to come back and solve a problem he was in the middle of. He was the one who took me with him on trips and let me watch him in action. He was a major part of my life and I never realized how much until he was gone and I read a book about him. That’s when I realized that my whole leadership style was a duplicate of his. He never sat me down and taught me, he influenced me.
I’m not sure he knew it. I never told him. It makes me realize that there could be people in my sphere of influence who are learning from me, yet, have never asked me a question.
There is a new book out called “Leadership is Dead” by Jeremie Kubicek (Kubicek is president and CEO of GiANT Impact, a global leadership company)
Here are a few of his thoughts:
•“Leadership is dead because too many leaders have abused their positions, lost their moral compass, abandoned long-term responsibility, and sold out for short-term gains and skyrocketing salaries.”
•”Great leaders with true influence build relationships by serving the needs of those within their spheres of influence, even as they serve the needs of their businesses. This isn’t just a business tactic, it is a lifestyle.”
•”Influence is based on trust. People do not follow those who are out only to advance their own interests.”
•”It is nearly impossible to trust someone who things first and foremost about himself.”
•”To have influence, you have to reach beyond your walls and give yourself for the benefit of others.”
So, how do I use the influence I have?
1. Identify your sphere of influence. Who is in a position to watch your life?
2. Be aware that any of them could be watching you, listening to you, doing things the way you do them.
3. Accept the fact that you could be influencing them, and determine to be a positive influence.
4. Now, make it a lifestyle to do the right thing at the right time in the right way! All the time!
Kubicek also said, “Influence requires commitment, the sacrifice of time, energy, and effort. It means reaching out and giving of yourself. Where you invest your influence, you invest your life. It means establishing relationships that exceed the business or personal opportunity, for the other person’s benefit, without focusing on your own needs. It’s a learned skill that brings real rewards. Opportunities are important, but they come more readily to those who put others first.”
You may not see yourself as a mentor, but,you will always influence!