Do you choose to be a leader? As managers, business owners, and employees, we have a choice of what we bring to the table every day. Whether you’re a CEO or the employee that empties the trash, you have the choice to be a leader.

Internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author John Maxwell once stated, “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

History is full of good leaders, but some of those leaders who were good at influencing their audience have led their countries or companies towards destructive and unethical actions. I define a good leader as someone who influences those around them and encourages behavior that aligns with positive and ethical goals. A true leader in an organization recognizes when behavior is outside of the organization’s goals or professional boundaries, and uses their “sphere of influence” to encourage those around them towards positive change.

What is your “sphere of influence”? Everyone has control, regardless of their situation. At the very least, we have control over how we react to an influencing factor. If someone is treating us poorly, how do we react? Do we go down to their level, or do we take the high road and still treat them with respect and dignity? I admire those that don’t allow negative influences to bring them down, but rather take negativity and counter it with positivity and confidence to demonstrate that their actions are correct.

Regardless of your position in your company, you can influence those around you. You can exhibit a positive and “can-do” attitude, even if you are new to the organization. If you are in management, leadership is about motivating your employees to not only do their jobs, but to be the best employees they can be. That strong influence can also relate to training your employees on how to be a successful professional in your organization and beyond.

What kind of affect do you have on the people around you, even today? Are you a leader for positive change? You have the power of influence, regardless of status in your company, but it’s up to you alone to choose how you wield your ability to influence as a leader.