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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

Leading is influencing others by touching their souls

By: Juanpablo Barrantes 

If you were asked to define the essence of a leader, how would you do it? In my case, I particularly would definitely include the word “influence”. So, continuing with my definition of the essence or core motive of a leader, it would be something like the art of influencing by touching the soul of his followers. A good example of this particular definition? Perhaps the best I know is that of Our Lord Jesus Christ. With a clearly defined vision he formed a team, he put himself in front of them to teach them His mission and engage them into that common and convenient vision for them and for many. He also stood as being the last, to show them that leadership is humility and a sense of sacrifice in servicing others. But in essence, he achieved his purpose through his team, he influenced his mission in such a way that his disciples were convinced not to falter in that purpose and not to fail their leader, continuing that legacy of teachings. Some of us have the Blessing of having lived or worked with a leader who has touched our inner-self, someone with whom we feel totally committed and that are at the same time inspired towards a particular cause. It is very common in the language of leadership to use the term "disciple", that is someone who is inspired by following his leader with the highest conviction, loyalty and trust. On the contrary, there are leaders who are dysfunctional, because they do not reach this connection and mystique with their followers. The followers of such leaders are known as "mercenaries", that is, followers for convenience or for simple necessity. The result sooner or later in a group made up of mercenaries is failure. Convening a group of followers and achieving a team of disciples over time is not an easy quest, here are five fundamentals that, accompanied by a continuous dose of mysticism, will undoubtedly help us in this process of influencing others by touching their souls. Striving for personal growth: Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. This phrase of Harry S. Truman is as accurate as valid, a great leader constantly seeks to improve his managerial and leadership skills. To follow and to be influenced by others more experienced leaders, through their knowledge embodied in books, videos, lectures, coaching sessions or other resources. Surround yourself and interact with great leaders to learn the inspiring but difficult art of leading by influence. Walking the talk: Setting the example is not the main way to influence others, it is the only way. Albert Einstein left us this simple but powerful phrase that, like many of his theories, are confirmed into our life, in situations like for example at home, in a parent’s role with his children. The most successful people in life have a great parent who formed them through example. Same effect between the relationship of a great leader with influence towards his disciple, the best leaders have another great leader behind them who shaped them by example. Building trust: you can not demand for respect in a relationship if there is no trust present. Without trust, there is no respect, without respect, any relationship won’t last. Nor is there prosperity without trust; Yokoi Kenji is a Latin-Japanese leader. Born in Colombia, from a Japanese father and a Colombian mother, and raised in both countries, Kenji is an excellent speaker. In one of his speeches he spoke that while living in Japan, in the same village where his ancestors lived, he observed how an elderly woman who owned a grocery store in the street, left her store alone during the day, allowing their customers to come to the store to choose and pick up groceries and right there they left the money from the purchase and then they left away. Astonished, Kenji asked the old woman how was that possible? Kenji thought that a business like that in Latin America could not be managed that way! The old woman told Kenji this was a matter of mutual trust between herself and her clients, besides, that was part of the culture in town so everyone knew that the lack of confidence would lead the town and everyone to ruin. A lack of confidence, she said, would lead to raise the costs of the vegetables just for having to pay for an employee who is all day pending for sales, or having to pay for security in case someone would steal the cash. After listening to Kenji, I have no doubt this is the reason most of the countries we live in are underdeveloped, and there’s a vast majority of people living in poverty, due to the lack of trust in every aspect of our moral, social, economic and political lives. Servicing others first: If anyone in any given leadership role -at home, at job or anywhere- lives and genuinely shows the principle of servicing others first rather than servicing oneself, this world would be very different from the one we have! The most ironic about this, many of us aim to service ourselves first before others (selfishness and ambition), because we usually think this will bring happiness, when on the contrary it is precisely to service others first rather than ourselves (love and humility), which leads to happiness and fulfillment. The influence of a leader shown by servicing others first and then by setting the example is so powerful that it simply drags out everyone around to do the same. Influence impels any relationship with no friction at all since we fully trust, because we feel safe and at the same time we feel inspired to become the best version of ourselves. Developing others: According to John Maxwell, the highest and most transcendent level of leadership is reached whenever a leader aims on the development and growth of his disciples, showing them how to become leaders and therefore leaving a legacy, which is expected to eventually be replicated with others as part of a virtuous circle. A great leader, a developer of new talent aims to be that kind of leader who sees people not only for what they are, but mainly for what they can become. As disciples, we want to be guided, trusted and empowered to expand our professional and personal talents. We also want to be seen as unique collaborators with infinite potential for growth. And as leaders, we want to see our disciples growing and finally prospering to continue striving for greatness all around. By: Juanpablo Barrantes Find more blogs on leadership and personal growth:

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