Mavi Viljoen (the artist formerly known as MA Giroux) is a hospitalitarian, writer, teacher, and urban godmother. She believes, to quote her spirit animal, Auntie Mame, that "life's a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death." A veteran leader in the hospitality industry, she and her husband moved to Honduras in 2015 to establish a bi-lingual tourism program for high school students. She's been published in the International Journal of Servant Leadership and the host of www.acumennial.com 's LeaderSips. Come spring, you can find her rooting for her beloved Washington Nationals.
No Title Necessary
Of the hundreds of books that have been written about leadership, one principle remains consistent regardless of philosophy or style: leadership is about influence, nothing more, nothing less. The greatest myth about leadership is that one needs to be at the top of the food chain to lead.
Leadership is about developing relationships, which in turn develops the influence you have on a person. No matter your title or position, if you have the ability to influence the people around you, you have the ability to lead.
Not everyone gets it. Recently, I shared the story of a management trainee for a software company in New York City who sat around waiting for a formal title and promotion so he could “get stuff done.” Problem was, he had never managed to win enough respect or influence from the development team to actually do things. So despite being smart and competent, he didn’t earn the leadership position he thought he deserved.
How does one grow influence?
Manage your personal brand.
If you show up late for meetings, are not in command of the information you are expected to know, and have a sloppy appearance you are not likely to gain much traction. A little self-awareness goes a long way.
Take a positive initiative.
Instead of sitting back and complaining about what others should have done, consider what you could do. Real leaders don’t have time to whine, they are too busy looking for opportunities that can be executed into successful results.
Cast a vision.
Everyone has a circle of influence. No matter how large or how small yours is, you can always widen it by sharing your vision and challenging others to help attain it.
People have many options when it comes to whom they choose to follow. And they will give their best effort to those who notice. A simple “thank you” goes a long way to laying the foundation for trust and eventually, influence.