I am an avid reader of personal development and self-improvement books.  John Maxwell is an author that I have become familiar with.  He is well known as a leadership expert.  I once heard an interview with him during which he defined the word “leader.”   He said that to lead is to influence others.  Prior to this I had never thought of leadership in that manner.  I believed that to lead was to solely delegate responsibilities to others. To lead by influencing put a whole new perspective on the essence of leadership.

John Maxwell also said that leadership is not determined by position or title.  Looking at a large corporation, for example, this means that a member of the janitorial staff can be as much of a leader (or perhaps more of a leader) than the CEO of the company.  Any person with any job title or any level of experience can be a great leader.

Each of us was created as a unique individual.  We all have our own strengths and talents.  Thus, we all have something positive to share with others.  I believe that we all have something to offer to the world that will help make others’ lives better in some way. It is in this way that we can influence other people. By helping another person generate a positive change in her life, we have created influence. Something wonderful has been accomplished.  Something that can be passed on.

I believe that leadership can thus also be defined as having a positive impact upon others. We can begin with ourselves and our own families. We can teach, encourage and inspire. We can extend our reach to our friends, coworkers and colleagues. We can even be leaders to people that we have just met.