Over the course of the last three months we have seen the dire necessity of strong competent leadership. From city and community spaces all the way to federal governments and global arenas, the fate of society as a whole is heavily predicated upon a sound vision that can direct people in time of crisis. There are set fundamental character traits of leadership that once our broken births a lack of trust, rebellion and confusion detrimental to all. Off mere observation for the last year and several hypotheses of various leaders in different roles I have identified three key qualifications of a progressive yet grounded leader. Contrary to previous studies in this focus, the criteria listed below reflects persons of high emotional intelligence as opposed to their intellectualism. In order for all three to work harmoniously, humbly in the direction of perfection, there has to be a deep sense of awareness and accountability that this paradigm of a leader possesses way before they are placed in tested in that position.
Yes, leaders can be born or cultivated either through circumstance or organic progression but unless given the authority to do so the vision you are trying to bring into fruition can never fully mature because of the lack of order. Order is protection and there is a level of submission on all levels of authority that are necessary for success. Submission is an understanding that the particular spot of where you are placed undergirds something greater than you that requires more of you. On the other end of the spectrum we have experience at some time the irresponsibility of giving authority to a leader which was solely based off of position and not merit. It is very challenging to bring cohesiveness and uniformity under one vision when this occurs. Normally this requires a shift in culture which can be done but also comes with the pressure of time and vested emotions. I have noticed that credibility evokes trust and with that trust authority is inherited. The power index simply put highlights the close proximity a people have access to their leadership. As you can guess this varies by culture, age, gender and more. From my personal lands my generation has lost some respect for the hierarchical structure of authority as expressed by their predecessors. Just as an attic cannot be placed where the foundation is because its purpose is meant to cover, so the foundation cannot be placed at the very top or its weight will crush everything below as its purpose is to sustain.
The ability to execute separates the idealist from the trailblazers. Power is a force that grows by accumulation. It is built. It is tested. There is no inverse relationship between power and the vessel. You have to be fortified enough to match the power you are given otherwise it is abused or better stated… abnormally used. There will be times where our ability and confidence are not on the same page but be mindful of the test that will insure where your source of strength comes from. Power without authority can start a rebellion. Consistently assessing the quality of your execution will garner a respect for where you are and where you can go. Authority will lead and direct the force of your power.
The distinct and dangerous thing about influence is that it can bring untested power and a false narrative of authority. Influence ways in the balance and inconsistency of emotions. It negates credibility, knowledge, skills and wisdom. Charisma can carry the power of influence in a very deceivable way but it will always dissipate under the test of time. Generally speaking, influence must be supported by costs because it requires some underlining emotional connection in order to work. This is what makes it so unique in nature. When influence is fueled by personality it becomes a trend due to the fact that it is successful by popularity. When influence is grounded by a sound vision the attraction is now placed on something bigger than you and is not predicated upon the likes and/or dislikes of… YOU. Personally, and this goes against all 10+ years of my marketing experience, I don’t believe in personal branding. When you have to promote yourself as oppose to a body of work you then have to sustain that perception where your credible work can be unbiasedly weighed against others. Think of our interactions with children more specifically babies. When we are trying to convince them to do something we want we change the inflection and pitch of our voices to a higher more pleasantly sounding tone. Overtime and with some familiarity it becomes decreasingly less challenging to influence that same child because we have established authority and trust with them through our actions. Influence is simply a vehicle that should never take the place of your vision as that is where your direction stems from. A visionless influencer is a junkie of his former glory and has pitched his tent there.
This is by no means the only criteria needed for great leadership however you can place positive characteristics within either one of the three categories. Metaphorically speaking, Authority represents the driver, by law, mandated to operate a vehicle. That vehicle which possesses the ability to carry the driver from point a to point B is represented as influence. Lastly, power is the engine or the force that moves both the vehicle and is driver to the Destination. As a leader, where is your vision taking you?