Sorry, Maxwell… Leadership isn’t Influence

Stop Looking for Influence to Validate Your Leadership

Arvell Craig
2 min readDec 17, 2022

Over 20 years ago I learned that Leadership was Influence, but now I’m questioning the premise. In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell created a masterful book that thousands of individuals and companies have followed as the gospel of leadership. However, this week I realized a flaw in the concept.

The Gap Between Action and Influence is Wide

My issue with the simple synonymity of leadership being influence is how it limits one's leadership to the results or responses from others. In today’s world where millions of people live behind their keywords and interact in the virtual world, dreaming of impacts and imparting wisdom and beauty, the gap between their actions and influence is significant and wide.

How many of us are writing blogs, publishing podcasts, posting videos, or sending emails with little to no idea of our recipients’ thoughts or feelings?

How many of us assume that the lack of likes, comments, or sales indicates that our actions are of little to no consequence?

For me, this was not conscious. It was unspoken and brooding. A silent but insidious attack on my confidence because of the seemingly missing signs of influence.



Arvell Craig

As AI invades every area of society, I'm choosing to positively and proactively learn, leverage, and integrate it for personal and professional growth.