If Leadership is the art of influencing others…

Leader is a position–someone that leads others. Many people, who are placed in the position of a leader struggle with the challenge of the leading others part. They simply take charge and rally the troops to move in one direction.

Being a leader is not leadership, but do you have to be a leader to lead?

No, leadership is something earned by those you lead–those that choose to follow you. The best way to learn how to lead is to run something for a nonprofit–something where you have to get others to help you.

Some leaders think that influence means to coerce with incentives and punishments. Some think they have to constantly sell to others so they will buy in.

Leadership is neither of these: leadership, true leadership, is about four simple things.

1. Passion: you must be passionate about what you do. Passion is your sales technique–not selling. Being passionate about something is infectious. Having and displaying a deep passion for what you are doing will spread to those around you and others will want to feel that passion too.

2. Vision. Just doing what you’re doing today, is not going to cut it. Becoming something more than today–something much more is vision. People want someone who will inspire them to a future. They wan to believe in something bigger and be part of it. Leader must be passionate about what he is doing today, but have an inspiring vision of where things are going tomorrow.

3. Know your people. Simply that, get to know the people who have chosen to follow you. Understand them and make them part of your vision. See their dreams and believe in them like you want them to believe in yours. Know their families, know their hobbies, know their skills and background. Never put them in a box of how you see them, but see them as they see themselves. Knowing your people better than they know themselves is powerful leadership.

4. Communicate. This is where most fail. E able to express your passion and your vision through writing and speaking. The better you are at communicating, the more powerful your message will be. Also, be open and honest to those who follow you–be among them always, even when you are not. Make them feel like that can talk to you at any time. Leaders today, put barriers between themselves and their people to allow them to work, but removing all barriers and spending your time communicating your passion and vision will inspire those around you to do much more than you yourself is possible of.

Leadership is not a position–it is definitely an art. But like any art, it is really more simple than most realize. You don’t have to be wealthily or powerful to be a and effective leader because those things do not make you so.

Lead with passion and vision. Know your people better than they know themselves. And constantly communicate to your people your passion and vision.

This is leadership.

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About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

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