How to Leverage Your Most Powerful Tool of Influence Today

Your most powerful tool of influence is a pair of caring ears.

Today’s leadership challenge is the daily practice of caring – yet engaged – silence.


Caring engaged silence:

A caring heart is permission to lead.

More than ever, leadership is about influence, not position. This is an opportunity for those without position and a threat to those with it.

4 positive powers of caring silence:

  1. Caring removes condemnation from silence.
  2. Caring elevates silence from detachment to interest.
  3. Caring enables quiet to establish safe spaces for engagement and interaction.
  4. Caring instills boldness by enlarging the worth of others.

Caring silence invites, energizes, and inspires.

4 negative powers of uncaring silence:

  1. Resistance to influence.
  2. Skepticism as to motives. Silence with an agenda offends.
  3. Barriers to connection.
  4. Bitterness from speculation regarding your intentions.

Uncaring silence is cruel.

Disengaged silence:

Disengaged silence makes leaders seem:

  1. Aloof
  2. Disconnected
  3. Distracted
  4. Distant
  5. Uncaring
  6. Manipulative
  7. Intimidating
  8. Stupid
  9. Judgmental
  10. Self-centered

2 ways to practice caring engaged silence:

Complete silence is abdication.

#1. Get out of yourself.

Release personal agendas, results, coercion, and quick evaluations. Use silence as an opportunity to understand, explore, and embrace another’s perspective and agenda.

  1. Quiet your spirit.
  2. Honor the value of others, especially when they see things differently from you.
  3. Explore, understand, and embrace the motivations of others.

Connection emerges as you understand and accept what others want for themselves and others.

#2. Give voice to your heart.

  1. Reflect on and declare what matters most to you. Why do results matter, for example.
  2. Be transparent with your motives.
  3. Declare your intentions. The more I work with leaders, the more power I see in authentic expression of positive intention.
    • I want to understand … .
    • I’m interested in … .
    • It’s important to me that … .

How might leaders expand their influence with caring engaged silence?

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