Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. – John Maxwell.
I gave a speech some time ago that ending with this quote by John Maxwell: Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. It is a great quote, and it really does sum up what leadership is. It sounds so simple, so straight forward, so easy. But it isn’t easy at all.
I think the first part about leadership being influence, that is the easy part. But it’s the part about nothing more, nothing less, that really makes this quote a challenge to live up to. There are so many situations that come up where I am tempted to use influence, plus something else. There are times I’m teaching someone, and no matter how many times I teach, they don’t seem to get the point. It’s easy to get frustrated. There are times that I feel the boss is out of touch, again, and I feel like, “What’s the use?” Sometimes I want to tell my daughter what to do, and it seems the more I tell her, the less she wants to. There are times someone in the neighborhood doesn’t treat me the way I would like them to, and I want to give them a piece of my mind, but I know it would not help at all.
When I look at these situations, I often look at the other person as being wrong, and me being right. That’s just natural. It also makes me feel good, but I doesn’t help me or them solve the problem. I don’t have any control over the other person, and I can’t change them. The only person I can change, the only one that I have any control over, is myself. And this is the challenge I find in living this quote about influence. If I want to have influence, I have to look for ways to be the sample, to live what I teach, to walk the talk, and stop trying to expect others to do something because that’s the way I think it should be done, or just because I say so. Why should they anyway?
The ‘nothing more, nothing less’ part has been a real challenge for me. I don’t know if I have succeeded in influencing many others, but one thing I know, that in trying to live by these principles, it has made a great difference in my life. I have been greatly influenced. I have learned a lot. I have changed. That’s the key, nothing more, nothing less.