John Maxwell has summed up, in one sentence, a real definition of leadership.
“Leadership is influence; nothing more, nothing less.” John C. Maxwell
But if leadership is influence, then what is influence? And how can you become more influential?
Influence is the ability to affect the emotions and behaviors of others through your own actions and words. It comes in many forms, and is extremely powerful. Influence can be either good or bad, but as leaders trying to become better leaders, we are always going to focus on the positive.
Becoming a person of influence
To be an effective leader you need the ability and the desire to affect positive change in others. A person of influence is not known only for their knowledge, but for how they interact with people on a daily basis.
“The essence of influence is pull. It’s an attraction. Great influencers attract people, to themselves, and to their ideas.” Bob Burg
Essentially, to get people attracted to you and your ideas and build a baseline to becoming more influential you need to focus on five main points. These focus points should be your guide towards building a strong foundation on becoming a person of influence.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” John C. Maxwell
If you intend to affect positive change in the people around you, the first thing you must do is care. You care enough to open up to them, to call them out, to challenge them, and to have a general interest in their personal and professional development.
An effective leader must have the ability to connect with people on a personal and professional level. This means caring enough to add value on a daily basis. Of course, there are several ways to accomplish this. I like to start by asking a couple questions.
What can I do to help them excel?
What drives them to succeed?
These are baseline questions, but are a great start to connecting with someone. It is also important to be genuinely interested in whoever you are trying to connect with.
A leader’s contribution is often times the most noted and the most publicized or recognized. Great leaders focus on making a contribution, but should not make being recognized for the contribution a top priority. Otherwise, keep the best interests of the recipient or the organization up front.
You must have the ability to work together versus being just a ‘boss’. Most people will find it very hard to connect with someone who just calls the shots and doesn’t get in the game. Leadership isn’t telling people what to do. The best leaders work hard to secure a spot up front so that they can clear room for the team to move in and then continue to work alongside.
“Emotions drive our behavior and they also determine performance levels and our scope of leadership influence.” Steve Gutzler
If your emotions drive your behavior then it is important to control those emotions. Everyone deals with stress in everyday life, it is important to control your words and actions that are affected by daily challenges. Our words and actions are what we use to influence and affect positive change. As leaders, if we lose control our influence can be skewed. Be aware of what triggers will set you off and recognize how your behavior is changing in response to those triggers.
Will you use these five focal points as a guide to realizing and increasing your personal influence? comments