There are many places you can start as a leader, but the best place is…The Beginning.
Leadership begins with Trust. No matter who you are, or who you are with, if you don’t have trust no one will care what you say. Trust is hard to earn, and very easy to lose. It’s an asset we must guard with great diligence.
I have seen three critical steps to being effective as a leader.
Trust > Influence > Authority
We should gain the trust of those we are called or intend to lead. Trust comes before influence. Leadership is all about influence, influence gives you the “critical mass” necessary to create movement and momentum with those you’re with. Influence comes after, and only on the heels of trust. No trust, No influence.
After Trust and Influence comes Authority. Authority gives you the ability to make decisions that will affect the outcome of the vision and the team you’re leading. Authority should be used as tool for the movement of the vision, not as weapon of reprisal or punishment. If you abuse authority, or use it for personal gain, you will soon be without it.
Hmmm… What happens if you come into a position where you are given authority, and haven’t had the opportunity to earn trust and influence. Well…”Put your big girl panties on.” That’s a hard assignment, and not for the impatient or power hungry. That spot requires humility, love, servant leadership and patience.
The best scenario is to earn it before you get it. If you get it before you earn it…You will have to pay a higher price. But…Trust and Influence is worth the cost. You will never be effective without them.