The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority (Kenneth Blanchard)
The best leaders of the 21st century are those who are active, constantly evolving, focusing increasingly much upon influence and empowerment rather than upon authority, leading through example, learning from their mistakes (and making mistakes in the first place), accepting mistakes and the learning process followed by the allowance of making mistakes, emotionally intelligent, humane, close to nature, and ready to throw themselves into creativity, seeing endless possibilities through action-oriented learning and development, be it in themselves, or in other individuals.
Never underestimate the influence you have upon others, and thus, on society around you, regardless of your background or current professional title.
How can you influence people, and change society, then?
Influence begins with your daily activities, the choices you make in your daily life, and about your future. Influential people do not always even recognize their personal influence, but even the slightest spark you as an individual are capable of creating in another individual may lead to significant development, and changes in society. The results are not always immediate, but be aware of the fact that your inner fire will be reflected upon everyone in your society, and thus lead to significant improvements in society, or to decreased satisfaction among people surrounding you. We all have our personal life paths that have influenced the people we have become, and all our current and future actions will definitely lead to, and have an impact upon how society around us will develop now, and in the future.
How then, as an individual, can you make a difference and influence people and society around you???
- Be prepared and willing to engage in long-term work, personal development and continuous learning.
The first rule of becoming a true developer and change-maker in society is to embrace personal learning, development, and humility. Always be open to engaging in dialogue, listening to people, and learning from real life and through experiences. True maturity emerges from the ability to stay open-minded, curious, and tolerant together with the willingness to grow as a spiritual being and as an individual.
- Do not expect quick results.
Humanitarian and influential work requires more than you think. Be prepared to engage in work and make efforts that become visible only in X years from this moment, rather than focusing upon getting short-term results in three months. Of course, short-term work is significant as well, but real influence starts with the ability to create lasting, long-term changes in individuals and in society.
- Be honest, authentic, and true to you.
True leadership and influence begins with the ability or remaining true to yourself, your authentic individuality, and in how you would like to see society around you. It is not always easy to close your ears and other senses, but authenticity requires for you to be capable of envisioning the current state and a future you would like to envision before being capable of creating it in reality. Always keep your ears open when listening to others, but also remember that your purpose in society is not in accepting everything as it is, the status quo, but rather in reshaping and redefining the future you want for yourself, and for the people around you.
- Stop dreaming and start acting.
No one will ask you, so you will have to take action yourself. Do not expect anyone to lead you on the way. Instead, get active and start living in a way that reflects who you truly are, and how you would like to see society evolve around you.
- Drop your professional title.
Professional titles are not an entitlement, nor a guarantee about the quality of the work you do. Very often people have beautiful titles, but look deeper into what is included in their job title. Do they live up to the expectations of their job title, or are they merely “products of their environments”, governed and controlled by their employer?
- Meditate, sleep well, and relax.
Influence requires a peaceful mind, so be prepared to cut unnecessary activities and people from your direct personal life, and instead focus upon activities that bring you joy, make you feel empowered, and that offer your personal development activities. Leaders have a tendency of overworking themselves, so please remember to learn to say no as well, and to get the rest and recuperation that you truly need, and deserve.
- Set your goals high, always expect more from yourself than from people around you, but also remember to forgive yourself and not to be too demanding upon the expectations you demand from yourself, or from other people.
We all wish to accomplish certain things in our lives, but remember to remain humane, and never expect other people to accomplish something that you would not be capable of achieving personally. I have always wondered how certain people are capable of expecting things they would never be capable of achieving themselves. True leaders know the way, show the way, and remain humane in the process of setting an example and in leading the way. True influencers and leaders do not only set an example, but are also capable of living up to the expectations.