The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. – Kenneth H. Blanchard
Not even a two year old child wants to feel controlled. The whole reason we have advanced as a civilization is that we innately seek out our own paths to follow. It takes years of painstaking education to construct onto people the future social boundaries that we believe are necessary to succeed in life.
Social boundaries and customs are necessary. Their whole point of existence is to speed up communication and inter-personnel relations. If each and every person you met throughout life required that you learn their particularities and how to communicate with them it would be chaos. You can think of social boundaries as languages. You need to have a point of commonality with someone to be able to relate and understand each other.
But how can you achieve your goals if you cannot go at it alone nor can you tell others what to do?
The name of the game is influence. Influence is an invisible bond that helps you push and pull things along. Having influence over someone ensures that when you ask something of them it gets done. And they will gladly do it for you.
Influence is not about use of fear, coercion or pure authority. It is a power over others that they gladly offer to you.
Influence is born out of admiration, an ingrown respect that others feel for someone which in turn makes them listen. And the spread of influence is through reputation. Having and owning up to a good reputation in your business or community spreads your influence far and wide. And the farther it reaches the more impact you can have on the world.
To garner good influence you must live by a strict way of conduct, and it’s not strict in the sense that there are unwritten rules you must follow. It is strict in the sense that it is auto-imposed. You must have the self control and discipline to enforce your own rules onto yourself and make sure you always keep yourself in check.
That’s the internal side of things. Externally it manifests in the sewing of goodwill. Helping others when you can, building up your fellow man and associating yourself with worth-while individuals helps kickstart the process. It can go so far as acts of philanthropy, public generosity, community involvement and charity.
The one thing you must absolutely remember is that it is a long game. This is not like playing the bull market, and bear markets are oftentimes short plays in comparison to this. This is a life long play that you start as soon as this very moment and lasts until your dying breath, and in some exceptional cases it outlasts your body and your time on Earth. You’ll do fine.