A leader's greatest asset is his or her ability to influence others. It is the responsibility of a leader to influence those under his leadership to achieve the goals and vision of the organization. It is her responsibility to navigate, encourage, discipline, and demonstrate how and where the team is headed.
I was in a meeting recently when I observed a stark difference between the executives of the two companies who were present. On one side, I saw a hierarchical pecking order of authority. As the meeting progressed, one of the authority-driven leaders confronted an executive from the company on the other side of the conference table. "You keep using 'our' and 'we' in your statements. Aren't you the owner of this company, and aren't you in charge?"
The answer that followed struck a chord in my soul. The confronted leader smiled, leaned back in his chair, and said, "We all are stakeholders in our company. I understand that without our stakeholders, we would not have a company. Therefore, we all consider ourselves business partners in this venture."
This leader understood that while he was in the position of CEO, his role was to create an environment of ownership for those around him. He knew this was the only way to truly achieve the vision and mission of the organization. The ability to recognize and empower those around you is the characteristic of a highly effective leader.
Choose to lead through influence instead of authority, and you will make a difference!