Learn to Influence Others with MU Extension Leadership Classes

  • Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less – according to David Burton, county engagement specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“I often have people tell me that they do not consider themselves leaders because they do not have a leadership position at work or in their organization,” said Burton. “Just because no one has tapped you on the shoulder to say, ‘you’re a leader’ doesn’t mean you don’t have influence.”
According to Burton, leadership is not a title. Leadership is not a birthright. It is not something that someone else bestows on you.
“Leadership is your ability to influence others. You influence some way with every person you meet: your spouse, children, co-workers, and your next-door neighbor,” said Burton.
This ability to influence others is your leadership capacity, and since the world always needs more and better leaders, that means you need to increase your leadership. To make that happen, you need to make it a priority in your life.
Burton says to start by asking questions of other people, and then pay attention to their answers.
“As you get to know others, make it a priority to connect with people by finding common ground,” said Burton.
But, leadership is more than listening and connecting; it is also about being vulnerable. 

“Vulnerability is often associated with weakness, yet, the greatest leader I have ever known was also the most vulnerable,” said Burton. “You do not need power or a position to lead others. You need to understand the influence you have with the people around you and then grow that influence every day.”

One way to grow that influence is to enroll in some of the various leadership programs available from MU Extension. Information about different leadership classes, including registration for the statewide Neighborhood Leadership Academy, can be found online at http://extension.missouri.edu.

Writer: David Burton

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David Burton

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