The word leadership is so often talked about and referred to, yet can be extremely hard to define. I define leadership by one word and that is influence. Not all leaders have good intentions and unfortunately some of the most memorable leaders had awful intentions. Whether we like their agendas or not they all had influence. As always, I want to focus on a positive outlook and try to make this world a better place. Three quotes that inspire me to be a better leader and help define those leadership philosophies.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams (6th US President)
So often I hear people suggest they are not a leader because they do not have a title. I don’t fault them as the definition of leadership according to Merriam-Webster is “the office or position of a leader”. Two of the greatest leaders that will forever be remembered had no title in Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. They had influence and were true servant leaders that made the world a better place than when they found it. Each one of us has a certain amount of influence and hopefully we inspire others to become more.
“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” -Theodore Roosevelt (26th US President)
One of the basic human needs that we all have is the need for love, affection and a sense of connection. Many leaders feel they need to be strong and have the answer to all of the questions. Often, they probably do know the answers but how well are those being received if the human element is gone. Leadership involves people, so make sure that you are fully present with that person and not just answering another question while looking at your cell phone and thinking about your to do list. Slow down and connect, that genuine connection can lead to a lifetime of loyalty.
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman (33rd US President)
We all like to be patted on the back and appreciated for our hard work. Lack of recognition is cited as the #1 reason that 71% of employees stated they were unhappy in a recent study. This is why one of my personal favorite sayings is “it’s not about you”, when it comes to leadership. Give encouragement, praise and recognition (EPR) freely to your team and watch how much it is reciprocated. Your teammates will be happier, more will be accomplished and your influence will grow.
Leadership is fluid and ever changing. There are certain philosophies that are constant and I hope the quotes above help you as much as they have helped me to stay consistent in my approach. The quotes provide an overall mindset and direction for what leadership should look like. They all happened to be Presidents of the United States and without getting political, that is unquestionably a leadership position. As stated earlier not all leaders are liked or unanimously chosen but they all have influence.