Being aggressive in leadership is very simple in concept but more difficult in practice. The key is being intentional. Intentionality is not a difficult thing to grasp. I do not do things just because I have the opportunity but I create the opportunity. That is different. An aggressive leader does not just take what is handed to them but takes what is handed to them and creates more of an opportunity with them. For instance… When you are spending time with someone and working through a task together, you take the moment to talk to them and build the relationship. That is basic bridge building, an important part of leadership. What makes someone aggressive in leadership is contacting someone who you want to build a relationship or further a relationship with and taking them with you. You are intentional about who you take and why you take them. You have a goal in bringing them with you and look to meet that goal.
What does it mean to aggressively influence? What does it mean to be aggressive in leadership? Hitler was pretty aggressive, is that what I am supposed to be like? What about influence, isn’t that leadership? What is the difference?
The difference is all in approach. The approach to leadership is the foundation for your impact.
Think of basketball – the approach of the defense as the offense is coming down the court will make a big difference as to the success of the offense.
Think of football – the approach of the quarterback to the game once the ball is snapped makes a big impact as the seconds go by.
Think of your homework – the approach you take to it will determine how it looks at completion.
1 = 1 or 8 = 8
Leadership is no different. The way you approach leading will have a direct correlation to the product you see. The result will always show the effect of the approach.
What you put in you will get out. You will reap what you sow.
What we are going to talk through today is the two main approaches to leadership.
In leadership however you are never working with a simple equation of 1 = 1. The reason for this is that as soon as you bring another person into the picture you are not dealing with your sphere of influence but also theirs. Where as with sports your approach impacts the way you play and that sphere of influence (the game).
Clear the Mud: (this one is for free) Let me set something straight real fast. Influence is influence, not leadership. You can influence somebody to do something and not lead them anywhere. A bully influences you by stealing your milk money, now I am not drinking milk. But he did not lead me somewhere. Leadership takes more effort then just influence. It is how you leverage, approach, and own influence that determines how well you lead.
The consumer, we will call him Mark, is the one who goes through his journey grabbing everything he can from those who offer it. He reads all the books he can get his hands on, he listens to podcasts, goes to conferences and learns from all of it. Mark’s focus is to better himself so that more people follow him.
The investor, we will call him Brad, is the guy who goes through his journey grabbing everything he can from those who offer it. He reads all the books he can get his hands on, he listens to podcasts, goes to conferences and learns from all of it. Brad’s focus is to better himself so that he can empower more leaders to lead.
The Difference – The Correct Approach.
The fundamental difference is that one understands the point of leadership the other does not. Leadership is not about selfish gain. Leadership is about making more leaders not more followers. Mark uses his learning and growth to influence as many people as he can. He is thinking about all the people that follow him and how much he has to offer them. Brad on the other hand, is thinking about how he can take what he is learning and teach it to those who are following him so that they can be better leaders.
Mark is leading people in such a way that will add numbers to his impact.
2 + 2 = 4 or 8 + 2 = 10
Brad is setting himself up to multiply the impact he has in his world.
2 (2) = 4 or 8 (2) = 16
In both cases the 2 is representative of themselves and the person that they are interacting with. As a leader you always count as an output because you are always growing. Leadership is about making more leaders not more followers.
Outputs determine the multiple.
The thing you want to do is not just multiply but find a way to increase the multiple. The multiple is the number of outputs in which you use to spread your influence. The more outputs you have the higher the multiple.
Lets go back to Brad. Brad takes the opportunities that come his way and does his best to take advantage of them. He interacts with those who come his way and seems to be quite successful. If, however, Brad could understand that the number of his outputs will multiply his outcome, then the outcome would increase dramatically.
For instance, if Brad takes his time to go and interact with Jeff. Takes him to lunch to help him understand where he is and where his next steps are then he will successfully influence using 1 output, his relationship with Jeff. But, if Brad thinks a little more intentionally and thinks to take Mark with him, so that Mark can begin to see what it looks like to make more leaders and not more followers, he has now added another output into the equation. The multiple has now increase to 2. The same equation now looks like this.
2 (3) = 6 or 8 (3) = 24
When you become aggressive about influence you begin looking for any way you can to impact people. Being aggressive means that you are thinking about how you can use everything you have to help other people continue to grow. You understand that leadership is about making more leaders not more followers.
The outputs that are available are numerous, all you have to do is think for a few moments. Lets list a few of the possibilities.
- Web sites and blogging
As you begin…
Things you should know:
It is a scramble. You will most likely fall more times that you want to. Aggressive leaders are aggressive learners and they are willing to fail.
You will get beat up. Failing is a great way to learn and move forward but it comes at a price. All good stretching causes pain. It is a fight – in a fight even the winner gets hit.
You have to know the boundaries. There are out of bounds. There have to be non-negotiable things in your life because when you are aggressive the obstacles are more resistant. You have know where you will not go.
You have to know the goal. The boundaries are there for a reason. When you stay within them they help you get to your goals. When you go outside of them they keep you from your goals.
You need mentors. The boundaries can be hard to from the field. You must have other perspectives. Find leaders that are aggressive and pull them into your life to help you see what you can not see alone.
Things you need to do:
Take Responsibility. Understand that your influence of other people is your responsibility. Take that responsibility seriously. The first step to becoming someone who influences aggressively is to take responsibility for not only your influence of others but along with that your learning and growth as well as your outlets of influence. Take those upon yourself and you will begin to feel the burden of action. This is the hardest of the 5 to do. It is the first step that creates inertia the rest compound on the motion created in the first step.
Take Control. Once you have taken responsibility be willing to take control of where you are and where you are going. Keep in mind this is where you determine whether you will be lost or not. There are 3 ways to be lost – not know where you are, not know where you are going and not knowing both.
Take Action. After you identify where you are and where you are heading list the next steps that you need to take to help you get closer to your destination. Then take action. This is a great time to interact with your mentor or begin searching for one. They will be able to help you accurately identify the next steps if you are having any trouble.
Take People with You. Get other people involved. You will always need two types of people with you. 1- those building into you and 2- those you are building into. You will need at least one person to ask question, gaining perspective and wisdom and you will need at least one person to invest in. You need input and output. The one will fuel the other.
Take the Teachable Moments. As you interact and grow be willing to take the moments that present themselves and use them to teach those that you invest in. Many of them may not stick but the more you invest the more will stick. Take every opportunity to teach others.