3 “I’s” of Leadership

There are so many different views and perspectives on leadership – so many that I sometimes wonder how anyone is supposed to discern the essentials of leadership. At the same time, it’s important to have some leadership foundations that you can use to build your own leadership model, and the simpler the better. Enter the three “I’s” of leadership.

Intention – Influence – Impact

With clarity around these three leadership “I’s” you will have a firm foundation for whatever leadership role you’re playing, no matter what the arena where you’re serving as a leader.

  1. Intention – Leaders are intentional. Leaders live and lead on purpose. They are thoughtful and discerning when it comes to who they are and what they’re seeking to achieve. History has shown us that leaders can influence people, but often their leadership is more about playing a role than purposefully creating outcomes and impacts. In other words, these leaders use their influence without thoughtful intentions. If you want to be an effective leader, being intentional in all aspects of your leadership will serve you (and those you serve) well.
  2. Influence – Leadership is about influence, and the essence of influence is being a person that people want to follow. It means engaging people behind a cause, mission, vision, purpose or values. Influence is the outcome of being authentic as a leader, which allows you to build the deep levels of trust that draw people to you, engage people and commit them to being a part of your plan and vision.
  3. Impact – Leadership is about impact, not actions. Leaders are acutely focused on their desired impact (beyond goals and objectives), and impact equates to creating something long-lasting. While some “leaders” are focused on their personal agendas and legacy, true leaders are focused on organizational, institutional, community and global legacy.

What about you? Will you be intentional? Are you committed to being the kind of person and leader that people will trust and want to follow? What’s your “why” as a leader (personally and professionally), and is your “why” more about impact than outcomes?

In the end, leadership is a choice, and the three “I’s” outlined above are individual choices that collectively represent that larger choice. Once that choice is made, you can commit to these three I’s in order to be the type of leader that makes a difference with people, in organizations, in businesses, in initiatives and in the community.  Will you choose to embrace the “I’s” of leadership?

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