An excerpt from Developing the Leader Within You 2.0:
“What’s your greatest investment possibility for the future? The stock market? Real estate holdings? More education? All of these things have value. But I would argue that one of the best investments you can make in yourself is to develop your influence. Why? Because if you have the desire to accomplish something, you will be in a better place to do it if others are willing to help.
In the book Leaders, Warren G. Bennis and Burt Nanus say, “The truth is that leadership opportunities are plentiful and within reach of most people.”3 That’s true in businesses, volunteer organizations, and social influence 7 groups. If you’re an entrepreneur, those opportunities are multiplied exponentially. The question is, will you be ready for them when they come? To make the most of them, you must prepare for leadership today and learn how to cultivate influence and use it positively to make a difference.
Robert Dilenschneider, founder and principal of the Dilenschneider Group and former CEO of the PR firm Hill and Knowlton Strategies, has been one of the nation’s major influence brokers for many years. In his book Power and Influence, he shares the idea of the “power triangle” to help leaders become more effective. The three components of this triangle are communication, recognition, and influence. Dilenschneider says, “If you are communicating effectively, you will get positive recognition for your communication from the audiences you are trying to influence, which means people will think what you are doing is right and that you are doing it in the right way. When you get positive recognition, your influence grows. You are perceived as competent, effective, worthy of respect—powerful. Power comes from remembering and using the linkage of communication, recognition, and influence.”4
As a young leader, I followed that pathway to better leadership because communication is one of my gifts. As I became a better communicator, I did receive recognition. Soon I was being asked to teach on the subject of leadership. But I also sensed that leadership was more complex than just communication, recognition, and influence. I began thinking about how I could develop a model that would help others understand how influence works, and more importantly, how to develop influence in their own lives. I knew that if the people I helped invested in their influence, they would be able to make a positive impact in their world, wherever that happened to be.”
Get more from leadership guru John Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You 2.0. This revised 25th anniversary edition includes two new chapters and 80% new content from John.