Leadership is influence. The more influence we have, the more effective we can be as leaders. Think about the greatest leaders you know. In most cases, if not all, they were very influential. In order to have a positive influence on the people that follow us, we must consider certain factors. These are not all of the principles of leadership, but I have grouped a few of them into an acronym that I call the C.A.R.E factors.
1. Care – People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is a very popular saying which is very true. Think about it! If you were following someone who you discovered did not care about you or have your best interests at heart, would you continue to follow them? And if you did have to follow them, would you continue to give them you very best? I think not!! As leaders, we must be caring enough to demonstrate a genuine level of concern for our followers who have trusted us to lead them and help them grow.
2. Ability – Unfortunately, we were not all born with the same amount of leadership abilities. We just have to be wise enough to know that it is our responsibility to recognize our own strengths and weaknesses. We can use our strengths to carry us while we continue to work on and improve our weaknesses. This type of individual growth will not only cause us to increase in our overall leadership ability, but there will also be an increase the potential for stronger influence.
3. Relationships – Leadership is built on relationships. If there is no relationship, how can there be leadership? There is an old proverb that says, “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” Leaders have an inherent responsibility to create and nurture relationships. The stronger and deeper those relationships are, the more potential there is for influence. Let’s face if! If you can’t influence people, they won’t follow you. If they won’t follow you, then you’re not a leader.
4. Experience – Experience is a wonderful teacher. We can learn a lot from it. Our past experiences can help us whether they were good or bad. If they were good experiences, we can highlight some of our best practices and continue the exercise them. If they were bad experiences, they too can have teaching value because they show us some of the things that we might want to avoid, or maybe do a little differently in the future.
These four factors can help leaders increase their level of influence; The C.A.R.E factors. These are certainly not all the factors of leadership, but if practiced, these factors will help any leader to see a marked increase in their leadership ability as well as their level of influence. Remember, the key to leadership is influence. If you can influence people, they will follow you. If they follow you, you are a leader.