Leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less. 

Books have been written on the subject. This post is nothing by comparison to a book. But what I’m going to say here is vital and true. If you want to lead, you must have influence. There is no leadership without influence.

Here’s a case to support what I just wrote. Dan Reeves made his reputation as head of the Denver Broncos. He earned three Super Bowl appearances, and received NFL Coach of the Year honors three times.

With all that, there were disagreements between Reeves and quarterback John Elway and assistant coach Mike Shanahan. Some say Elway and Shanahan worked on their own offensive game plan, and ignored Reeves’s wishes.

Somehow, Shanahan developed greater influence with Elway. It didn’t matter that Reeves held the title and position of head coach.

In 1995 Shanahan became head coach of the Broncos. He became in title what he probably was already in terms of influence with certain players — their leader. In 1998 he took the Broncos and QB John Elway to their first Super Bowl victory.

Leadership is all about influence.

“It’s not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position.”

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