Before you read anything, STOP and think of all the leaders you’ve known and think of the one quality that unifies them all…
I’ve been thinking and asking people all around what they thought qualified someone as a leader. The answer I got repeatedly was: INFLUENCE. A leader is someone who has a sphere of influence, whether it be positive or negative. This sphere can be big, or it can be small. Either way, this entity holds some kind of effect or impact on their environment.
Now, bear with me because I’m going to go all nerdy and pull out my psychology degree on everyone. In social psychology, we know that people cannot escape influence: you have no choice but to influence and to be influenced. Every action and non-action of a person affects the people surrounding them. For example:
Scenario #1: I see Little Jimmy bullying Lil’ Bob and I tell Jimmy to stop being a bully. I have offered him a choice: to bully or not to bully. He must make a choice to either discontinue his actions or to reinforce his previous lifestyle.
Scenario #2: I tell him to continue honing his amazing bullying skills. Go get em, boy!
Scenario #3: Non-action. But interestingly, non-action is also an influence; by choosing not to act, you have influenced the situation by giving them your permission and approval, letting things to continue on its current course of actions.
So, then, why the heck am I talking about social psychology right now? Here’s my point: if we say that leaders are people who influence, and if we know that every single individual influences (with or without intent), then what’s the natural conclusion? Everyone is a leader. YOU are a leader, whether you like it or not.
Your sphere of influence may be large (like the president of the United States), or it may be small (your friends or your classmates), but no matter the size, you are still a leader. Believe it or not, you have great potential and power. The real question is: will you be a leader who inspires good or evil? As Spiderman put it, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
So, how can you influence your friends for the good today?
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