I was talking to a group of executives about leadership and how important it is today - especially today - to lead through influence...not authority. Command and control does not work, well not for long, and it certainly does not motivate employees to give that extra effort. We all agreed that one of the most important ingredients to success for a CEO or senior executive is influence through integrity.
Two leading experts on leadership agree. Kenneth Blanchard said "The key to successful leadership is INFLUENCE, not authority." and John C. Maxwell says "Leadership is INFLUENCE, nothing more nothing less"
In John C. Maxwell's book - Becoming a Person of Influence, the first chapter focuses on "Integrity with People". Everyone has influence, some of this is positive and some of this is detrimental. As successful leaders know, integrity is the quality most needed to succeed in business.
Josh Weston, former Chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., says "I've always tried to live with the following simple rule: Don't do what you wouldn't feel comfortable reading about in the newspapers the next day". He truly understands the value of people and integrity.
John C. Maxwell says that the benefit of Integrity is TRUST, and the benefit of TRUST is Influence - so how do you become a person of integrity? You have to make a choice, and if your ready to make that choice, here are 4 Fundamentals from John's book "Becoming a Person of Influence":
- Commit yourself to honesty, reliability and confidentiality
- Decide ahead of time that you don't have a price
- Major in the minor things
- Each day, do what you should do before what you want to do
As Abraham Lincoln said "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power".
As leaders, everything that you do and say is watched closely, and you know that building trust can only be done through demonstrating integrity. These are the foundational elements of INFLUENCE.
No matter what your goals are in life, you can achieve them faster, you can be more effective and the contribution you make can be longer lasting if you learn to develop your influence!