As we go about growing in our leadership skills, it’s important to come back to the foundation of what leadership really is. Leadership is the ability to influence others toward a certain vision or goal. Often, in the midst of trying to realize a goal we become so obsessed with getting people on board, it becomes a mission of control rather than of influence. You simply cannot control anyone except yourself. If you want people to follow you into the future, you must be a good influencer.
Tips for Becoming a Person of Influence
Model Integrity – You will always have a difficult time influencing others if you are not perceived to be a person of integrity. You can’t just talk to the talk, you must walk the walk. It’s not enough to say it, you must also do it. It’s actually not even enough to merely do it, you must be caught doing it. The people you want to influence must see you in action. You have to model what you want reinforced.
Initiate – Great leaders and influencers are action oriented individuals. People don’t respect your ability to tell others what to do, they respect your ability to get things in motion and get the job done. If people are confident that you will lead them to a place of accomplishment, then you are likely to gain influence over them. Everyone wants to win and follow winners. Action oriented people win and ultimately lead others into victory.
Be Relational – Our world is comprised of relationships. Whether business, friendship or family oriented we are immersed in relationship. You need it and so do those that you work with. Though it should be professionally appropriate, it’s important to build relationships with those around you. You can do this in a simple way by showing appreciation and learning to care for the people on your team. Ask them how they are doing and allow them to get to know you as well. Some level of vulnerability is appropriate and even necessary for building trust. People allow themselves to be influenced by what they deem as trustworthy.
Cast Vision – Leaders get others to follow them into the future by defining what the future is. People want to do something that matters, something significant. Clearly show them the significance of their role and how it leads them into a bright future. This will motivate them and give them a clear path to follow, making your expectations much easier to understand and accomplish. As they go about their work, they can clearly see through the lens of where you’re taking them.