Home > Business Strategy > Leadership is About Influence Not Force

Leadership is About Influence Not Force

JackI’m at my United gate on Sunday getting ready to head out to my conference in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia. If you’ve ever stood in line waiting to get on the plane, you’ve probably seen someone try to carry on luggage that is too big.

On Sunday, I watched a woman with a red roller bag try to convince the gate person that her bag fit. She tried to stuff the bag in the cage they use to show if the bag will fit in the overhead compartment. She stuffed, she squeezed, she prayed. She took it out and tried other geometric positions to no avail. The bag didn’t fit.

The next thing we all saw was her disgustedly opening the suitcase out and throwing things out to make it “smaller.” I don’t know where she was going to then try to stuff that clothing, but rearranging wasn’t going to work. Luckily for me, I walked past her and on to the plane, as she was getting more exasperated by the second.

I’ve seen business leaders try to stuff, squeeze, and pray as they tried to force their desired culture into their company. Just like this lady with the red bag, they were fruitless in trying to motivate by force to eliminate inefficiencies, drama, conflict, and lack of communication. Culture isn’t formed by force; it’s created by influence.

The days of command and control and hope that people will mindlessly fall into place are long gone and those days weren’t always good. It takes 3 factors to create an unleashed leadership in your company. It not only takes all of them, it requires they are all present. They are mentoring, selflessness, and autonomy. I spoke at length on these topics during my speech to the group of insurance executives at the conference. I will write about these concepts over the course of days on this blog.

The takeaway for today is this…

If you’re trying to squeeze and force your desired culture into your business, you’re going to end up as exasperated as the woman with the red bag at the United gate. Discover the art of influence and become an unleashed leader.

© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

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