June 15, 2009

Leadership: True North

"Leadership is intentional influence."

Michael McKinney

Well said Michael.

Leadership is leading and the more you can do that without being obvious, which is what influence does, the better.

Are you influential?


  1. My first thought when I read "Leadership is leading . . ." was "duh". But then I thought about the "leaders" I know, both in business and politics. Many don't lead at all. They just tell others what to do and there is a big difference between doing that and leading.

  2. You're right Carol.

    Great leadership is almost transparent. Those who are being led should feel as though they are leading themselves.

  3. If there is a big difference between leading and telling others what to do, what is it? And if its a good thing to do more leading, less telling, how do we do that?

  4. If I find my boss is listening to me more than telling me what to do, followed by me doing what I later realize she wanted me to do, I've been led.

  5. i think one of the best characteristics of leadership is the ability to identify the strengths in people and exploiting it to the full extent.

    exploiting is probably not the best term because it has a negative connotation but the idea is that an effective leader knows that people are driven and excited by different things. so the key is to figure out what those things are and then tailoring your approach to maximize their drive and excitement.

    if someone who works for me is completely self-motivated, me telling him what to do all the time is going to be a total turn-off and ultimately, ineffective. but for another person, s/he may very well need to be prodded, checked up on, etc.

  6. Exploiting does have a negative connotation but I know what your point is and agree. Management's job is to use the tools at their disposal, which is people, to get things done.

    Your comments about how much "telling" you need do is interesting because that "gate" swings both ways. You're right that few people want to always be told what to do but if that is the only way to get things done they're probably not the right for the job.