Do you lead by influence or position?

I was listening to the Manager Tools Podcast and learned there are two leadership styles: leading by influence or leading by position.

Leading by Position

Leading by position is when others follow you only because you are in a position of authority. “Do this…because I am your boss!” While people should follow those in a position of leadership, if a leader is relying solely on the authority of their position to lead others, it is far from ideal.

Leading by Influence

Leading by influence is the ideal form of leadership. This is where others follow because you have earned their trust and you are able to exert influence over them. This form of leadership does not require any authority or position. A person can lead their peers solely by influence.

Have you ever heard the saying, “He’s a natural born leader?” It is likely because of influential leadership. Those who naturally appear as leaders in a team of peers are those who lead in this way. The team trusts them and they begin to “naturally” lead even when they haven’t been officially given the title of leader.

An Example

The Bible gives us a great example of this type of leader in Jesus. He was God, yet the bible says, “[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7) Jesus gave up his “title” and led by example. He didn’t say “Obey me because I am God!” Instead he said “If you love me, obey my commandments.” (John 14:15)

So, how do you lead?

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