The Impact of Leadership

Milliseconds Before Impact
The Impact of LeadershipJosh Kenzer / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I have been blessed to have met many very influential people during my lifetime. Many are Vistage speakers who have accomplished much and are now giving back to others by sharing their experiences and learning with other CEOs. Others are current CEOs who have overcome huge obstacles to achieve success. Some are professional athletes or celebrities who have influenced fans and followers around the world. Others are local heroes in the community who influence through sacrifice and serving others.

We expect these types of high-profile people to have an impact on others. What is often forgotten is the impact that each and every leader has on those around them. I am certainly not “high profile”, and yet I cannot count the number of times people have come up to me to thank me for the impact I have had on their life. It’s very humbling, as I can’t even recall some of their names or where we may have met. I certainly did not feel at the time of the situation they described that it could be a life-changing experience!
Who are these people I have impacted? Sometimes it’s a former employee or client, and other times it is someone I met only briefly. Sometimes it is someone who heard me speak or read my blog whom I have never met in person.

What did I do to warrant this gratitude? Some of the stories are a result of a kind gesture I made or an encouraging word I shared. Some are because they felt I truly listened to them and gave them an opportunity to be heard. Others are a result of asking just the right question to get them thinking about something differently or seeing additional possibilities they had not yet considered. Sometimes it’s because they felt that I led by example and they recognized that I never asked anyone to do something I would not do myself. Or that I maintained a high level of integrity and consistency in my actions, so they always knew what to expect.

Whatever the case, the impact was significant enough that they wanted to let me know. Hearing those stories motivates me to continue to have that type of positive impact on others. What type of impact are you having on others at your company or in the community? Are you being the kind of leader who will have a positive impact on the lives of others?

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