A mandate is an official order or commission that confers authority on the holder. In political terms, it means decisively winning an election; in banking, it means having the authority to act on another’s behalf. But in leadership terms it is meaningless if it doesn’t come with other, more essential qualities.
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Leadership and Influence
Leadership is not a title or a position. In fact, the lowest form of leadership is command and control, where you expect others to do what you want because of the rank or position of privilege you hold.
Whereas a title, or mandate, may offer the potential for leadership, they cannot bestow the qualities of an effective leader on the holder.
Leadership is about influence. Influence not authority is what defines effective leadership. Influencing others means taking responsibility for your actions as a leader and ensuring that others’ voices are heard.
Building meaningful relationships with others is essential for effective leadership. The danger in relying solely on authority and command is that you undermine meaningful relationships with those you’re supposed to be leading.
Without trust, you cannot lead properly, you can only demand that people do what you ask of them.
A leader has followers, and sets an example, and works to build a consensus. A leader takes others along on the journey because they share a common vision.
If your leadership is about you exercising control, then you are not influencing, but relying on your position to carry you along. This is a route to failure as a leader, because your authority has no firm foundation.
Leadership is not easy, because it demands more than filling a position, or accepting a mandate. It requires the individual to raise their visibility, and to take the time to develop and grow their influence.
A leader must show they care for others, and demonstrate their influence by empowering people. This shows confident leadership.
You empower yourself if you empower others, and if you’re willing to ask for their help. Organisations are far less effective if they are heavily reliant on a few, elite decision-makers at the top.
Effective leadership nurtures others so that an entire body is ready to meet change, and is ready for the challenges ahead. How confident are you in your leadership?
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