How Far Your Leadership Influence Really Extends

As a leader, I often wonder how far the influence of my leadership will reach. Has it touched those I’m working with today? Will they remember me tomorrow?

Image by JJ Hall

Image by JJ Hall

The questions come and go in my mind. I know I want to leave a legacy of touching others and leaving them better than when I first met them.

The problem is we don’t always see the change take place in the people we lead. This can lead to frustration as a leader. We may even want to quit because of we never see the change.

Today, I want to encourage you to get rid of this thinking. It’s not good for those you’re leading. It’s not good for you.

Searching For Sugar Man

A recent movie has really cemented my thinking in this regard. The movie was Searching For Sugar Man.

Searching For Sugar Man is the documentary of two South African men who want to discover what happened to the musician Rodriguez.

You’ve probably never heard of Sixto Rodriguez, I know I hadn’t before the film. His story is an interesting one.

Rodriguez had a short lived music career in the US. He had two records released that fell flat. And he wasn’t heard of again.

At least in the US.

While his career fizzled in the states, his influence was felt strongly ins South Africa. His albums became the anthem for many people. He became a folk legend.

All of this happened under the radar and without him knowing the influence he was having on a country far, far away.

What You Can Learn From This As A Leader

Searching For Sugar Man allows us to see that our leadership influence may not be seen by us. We may even feel that we have failed as leaders. Having been rejected by those we’re trying to lead locally.

And yet there may be a tribe that we’ve influenced that we never knew about. Rodriguez has his following influenced in South Africa. They were crazy about him there. Yet in his home country, no one really knew him.

You may be in the same boat as Rodriguez. You may not be well received with the lessons you’re teaching. But someone is listening.

They’re taking your message to heart and applying the lessons you’re sharing. They’re wanting more from you.

Don’t give up because you feel you’re being ineffective. If you’re leading and know the way, keep on leading. Someone will follow you.

Your leadership doesn’t affect those who you can see. There are those who are watching you from a distance that will be impacted by the life you give and the lessons you teach.

Question: Do you believe your leadership influence will touch more than your local audience? Why? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • It has never been easier to connect with others across the world, and yet one may never know the extent of their own influence.
    I love that technology allows bloggers to reach corners of the globe, any time of the day, and sometimes even years later.
    Joe, we have never met face-to-face, or had a conversation over the phone, but you have influenced me.
    With that in mind, how much more important is it that we focus on sending qualtiy, sound messages?

    • Jonathan, it’s amazing the way technology has increased our capacity to connect. Thanks for letting me know that I’ve influenced you!

      It’s very important that we send quality messages out. We’ve got to be confident what we’re saying and doing is the message we want out in the world.

  • Its difficult to gauge your influence on others because you just never know. Its rare that people will come out and tell you that you influence them. But I think if they keep coming back and engaging with you, you can assume so. Its a digital age where people don’t have to follow you if they don’t want to.

    • So true.

    • Great point Lincoln. It’s rare that someone shares with you how much they’ve impacted their life. However, it does happen and it’s encouraging.

  • I just experienced last Saturday how far your leadership reach can extend. A guy shared with me that a lady in his was class was expressing how a class she was that I taught on purpose and vision affected her life. He said she was telling it like she took the class last week. I didn’t remember the lady because in that particular class I taught over 3,000 people in a 5 year span. But, It encouraged me to keep delivering my message.

    • Bernard, that is awesome! Sometimes the stories get back to us and we find out the level of our impact. Keep sharing the message!

  • Great post! I believe our leadership has the potential to impact more people than we realize. Looking through some of the different people around the world who read my blog really shows that global impact I’m having. I’m sure the same is true with you Joe.

    • Thanks Dan. That is so true. Through blogging and website analytics, we’re able to see that we’re reaching out.

      • Your welcome. It’s amazing how many people we impact and touch with our influence.

  • Joe,

    So true. Receiving kind words and emails is nice and it encourages me, However, if I counted on those nuggets of thanks I would be at rock bottom. I walked into a building the other day and a Soldier approached. She said Staff Sergeant “My fiance says your the greatest leader he has ever worked with”. If she had never said anything I never would have known my influence now extended to her.

    I said that to relay a story and not build myself up. I am not great by any means; I am simply driven, committed, and passionate.

    • That’s awesome someone approached you and shared the influence you’ve had on someone they know. I know you’re not trying to build yourself up, just sharing a story. Sometimes we need to hear things like that.

  • DS

    It can be discouraging when we don’t physically see the change or hear about it. In some ways I don’t really want to know, because I don’t want to become arrogant or haughty. I have a belief and a trust that if I do what I believe is right, the right way, people will be impacted in a positive way. God knows the true impact we have good and bad.

    • I’m with you on the discouragement it can bring in not knowing the affects your leadership has brought on other people. It’s tough to continue if you’re not seeing the results you think you SHOULD see.

      Your approach to this is a great example of humility and doing the work regardless though. Keep up the great work David.

      • DS

        Not to mention sometimes our vision is way to small!

  • rcsinclair952

    Sometimes it is just our job to plant seeds. Sometimes, it is someone’s job to harvest them.

    • That is so true. We can’t always be there for the planting, watering, and harvesting. Sometimes we’re there only for one step in the process.

  • This is a really great post. Leaders definitely leave a good influence on their fellow mates and this help in overall development and help them succeed in life.

  • Sure – I guess so. I’ve received many comments from people I’ve never met face-to-face thanks to the blog world. Just in this arena, I know I am having an influence. This is a great reminder that my influence is probably much broader than I could imagine, and it’s a good reminder to live my life in a way that honors Christ and represents Him well.

    • Jon, it’s crazy isn’t it? Think about all of the people you’ve reached without them ever commenting on your site. There’s hundreds and thousands of them.

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