22 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Influence
Some leaders are born; most are made. But, all leadership is influence.
Long-term, powerful influence is never an accident; it’s always intentional. Experience and research indicate these 22 principles and behaviors dramatically increase leadership-influence.
- Extend honor rather than demanding respect.
- Dream bigger for others than they dream for themselves.
- Serve others – they don’t serve you.
- Build confidence by spotlighting successes.
- Provide opportunities in new contexts. A series of small wins magnifies potential.
- Focus on next levels more than perfecting current skills.
- Struggles strengthen; don’t solve stresses for others – solve stresses with others. Expanded here.
- Give authority.
- Embrace high standards.
- Expect accountability.
- Listen to and occasionally speak into fears.
- Lift them to the point where they lift others.
- Question, occasionally suggest, always encourage, sometimes confront.
- Align correction with their values and vision not yours.
- Don’t pressure them; they will pressure themselves.
- Let them point out their own weaknesses. When they assess their weaknesses accurately, agree. Don’t soften the sting.
- Humbly share your failures.
- Ask permission before correcting.
- Use language that expresses their values.
- Focus on practice more than theory. Solve a problem.
- Be honest but not adversarial.
- Always come back to purpose. “Why” is the central component of “what”.
What behavior has enhanced your influence?
some great points listed above – in particular the last one on ‘always come back to purpose’ – critical to know why you are doing something or else you can not truly assess if you have succeeded? When I receive a request for a development program, I always start by asking ‘why?’ – if this can not be clarified then the need has not been really established
Your idea that if we can’t establish “why” we don’t understand need is practical and powerful.
You’re dead on, Kathleen, and defining the why, to me, is one of the basic obligations leaders have to their teams. I hate to keep beating the Army drum, but those were formative years for me, and the Army concept of commander’s intent (the commander must communicate a clear picture of what the end state must look like) combined with mission-type orders (tell what, not how) allows soldiers complete flexibility to accomplish their mission in any way that meets the commander’s intent. That empowers the team member and frees the leader from having to get involved again every time the situation changes.
There’s a lot of wisdom in this list, especially in the way that it recognizes the different world views and motivations leaders have to work with. I especially agree with #15 – most people don’t want to disappoint. I always say in corrective or disciplinary systems if you can see understanding/remorse in their eyes, you don’t have to say anything more.
To answer the question, having trust extended to me was key in my development. I remember as a 20-year-old lieutenant taking my unit of 30+ soldiers and all equipment overseas. As green as I was, the Army trusted me with that resource and I was determined not to mess it up even though I was pretty sure it was beyond me. Looking back, I can see that they supported me with some experienced sergeants, but at the same time the responsibility was mine, as was the authority, so it was a big step.
Wow, I should have listed having trust extended. I have had more than one emerging leader say, “thanks for trusting me.”
That’s a powerful statement Dan, thanks both Greg and Dan, I will be applying that!
I agree too.
I like the ideas of expressing the values of others, empowering and encouraging others. I also like the ideas of sharing your failures and taking persmission before correcting. I share my behaviour that has enhanced my influence. They are respecting others feelings, listening others patiently, helping them honestly, instil confidence into them from time to time, encouraging them, suggesting them, ensuring them that they are better than they think.
I believe to share my belief, suggestions and ideas to those, who really need it. I try to help people without any expectation but expect them to be successful. I try to be helpful than to be nice. I try to set up my own example when I suggest something to someone. I dont suggest what I do not do. I ask them to lead by example.
Helpful vs. nice is an enlightening and helpful idea.
There is a grittiness to leading and leadership development. You make me think about Jay Elliots idea of being excited about what they are excited about… Thats more than just being nice. It’s focused attention that propels people forward.
Ajay is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/ajay-gupta
Good morning Dan!
Be approachable, and be sure to communicate even in the absence of communication from others. Be willing to translate. I guess these would be my contributions. People don’t always know how to find their words, or understand yours.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
“People don’t always know how to find their words, or understand yours.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more concise, or wiser, summary of how communication fails, or a more compelling argument for being patient and focused in communicating. That statement’s going on my bulletin board, Julia — thank you.
Thank you Greg and Dan too! 🙂 This was a bright spot in my day.
Your comment challenges me because I’m not always perceived as approachable.
You got me.
I love # 18 – Ask permission before correcting. And I think it works well with #7 – solve stresses with others. I know I have a tendency to jump in and try to solve things for people and these two items just help emphasize to me the importance of involving others in the process AFTER they agree to my offer of assistance.
Great Post Dan. Why should we extend honor rather than demanding respect ?
Honoring others lifts them and lifting others enhances their influence which in the end, enhances your influence.
Demanding respect is an illusion of power. If you have to demand it you have not earned it. It is earned by thought, action and deed over time.
Dan, love this post! It really gets back to “humaneness and connection” that is so simple, fundamental and rudimentary. Kindness, encouragement, love, respect and service. Thanks!
Dan there are two areas of my personal development that I am currently focusing on and leadership skills is one of them. Thanks for sharing as this is a tremendous resource I can use to further myself on both a personal and professional level.
Dan I thank you!
That’s an interesting question b/c sometimes it is difficult for us to measure our own influence.
I would say one behavior that may enhance my influence is my habit of reading “the fine print” in life — not just the literal fine print but trying to understand the subtext in interactions and organizations. That can be a hindrance too b/c I can get bogged down in it, but it helps me understand that things are not at all always what they appear on the surface, and I can make more effective decisions (and perhaps more influential decisions) by being better informed.
Jibing on #10, Expect accountability, today Dan.
A variation on 10 is Display/expect transparent accountability. While wordier, it covers walking the talk and eschews obfuscation. 😉
Interesting how many of these principles/behaviors fit into EI.
Hi Dan, this is a fantastic list. I might add that greater engagement and participation will always hinge on creating ” a safe space.” Providing a “safe community” allows the germination of diverse influences. Have a great weekend all. 🙂
Couldn’t agree more on the idea of safe space. Self-preservation is the first instinct, and until people feel safe that consideration dominates. In the workplace it means they stay quiet, stay in the background, avoid all risk and all decisions. Great addition to the dialogue, Al, thank you.
Hi Greg, thanks for the comment. I have found that creating that comfortable environment takes a long time and involves not only the soldiers feeling comfortable around the generals but everyone feeling comfortable with each other. Not an easy endeavor and in my experience requiring continuous attention.
And the paradox to the staying quiet, staying in the background, avoiding all risk (overt/covert) and decisions, is that the safety is likely negatively impacted, at least in the long term. Short term, my head in the sand doesn’t see the problem, long term, beyond sand in my eyes obscuring vision, I might get eaten. (And the ostrich head sand thing is a myth anyway.)
Assume good intentions.
The outcome is always better.
Just posted this at http://bit.ly/j64zm3. Keep up the good work.
Enjoyed this post Dan. Will teach this to my dream team in a near staff meeting. Great content and thanks for making us better through your sharings.
Wow… I am very much impressed on your excellent tips!
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I love this.it helped me alot.
What research are you drawing on – can you share the source(s)?
Thanks Christina. My own experience.