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The True Sources of Influence

Leadership is…

Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less.”

Influence is…

Albert Einstein explained that, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”

An example of influence…

Dad taught me to love books without ever telling me to read.

In my imagination I still see him, bent over a book, lost in thought. My roots go back to a dairy farm in central Maine. After chores, dad set himself at the breakfast table – reading. He read everything: fiction, nonfiction, machine manuals, science, and religion.

I heard him reading to mom. Normally she wasn’t a quiet person but when dad read she listened quietly.

I love books. I have thousands.

Dad didn’t try to make me love books.

He never explained how to read books. I got that from, “How to Read a Book,” by Mortimer Adler, who said, “Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.”

Dad still loves books and ideas.


Dad’s authentic passion for books and ideas profoundly influences me.

Your highest potential for influence
is rooted in your authentic self.

But there’s more…

Influence thrives in respectful relationship. Dad influenced me because of his passion for books and our relationship. I watched him, knew him, and still respect him. A life of influence begins with your authentic self and finds expression in authentic relationship with others.

You cannot lead in isolation.

Author’s note: Dad passed away June 25, 2012. I miss him.

What blocks personal authenticity? What builds it?

How can leaders build relationships that open door for influence?

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