I consider myself very fortunate to be able to live in beautiful Orlando, Florida. For years I’ve wanted to live in a tropical climate, and I’ve finally arrived. We have all the amenities one could ever hope for. Sunshine, Wal-Mart, and Disneyworld. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

This afternoon, as I took the trash out, it was such a beautiful day that I decided not to return inside right away, but instead to take a walk. I try to allow myself time to think every day, and today I would do it while enjoying a beautiful evening stroll.

While I was walking I was thinking on how John Maxwell defines leadership. He says leadership can be easily defined as influence. As I was walking around my apartment building (attracting the occasional growl from the neighbors less than friendly canines) I couldn’t help but think that it doesn’t stop there.

Leadership is influence. Yes. But what is influence? I think influence can be defined as the quality of a relationship. Think of the people that have the most influence in your life – naturally, it’s the people with whom you have the best relationship. Yes?

Why do you have the best relationship with those people? You can chalk it up to family, but I know plenty of people that are related that have terrible relationships. I think relationship can be broken down even further to connection. You have the best relationship with the people that you connect with.

Okay, well…now that we’re here, let’s take it a step further. Connection is based on one thing. Communication. You connect with the people you do because they are able to communicate effectively with you. They understand you effectively. You understand them effectively.

Effective communication leads to connection. Connection leads to relationships. Relationships lead to influence. Influence leads to leadership. Leadership depends on effective communication. in true leadership, the cycle starts over and never ends.

Communication is the lifeblood of leadership. How well are you communicating? With whom do you need to improve your level of communication? What’s keeping you from making those necessary changes today?