3 Shifts that Expand Influence
The way you treat others is the chief culture building influence in your organization.
Lousy leaders act like individual contributors. Incompetent leaders can’t see the impact of their attitudes, words, and actions.
Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The relationships you enjoy, for example, begin with you.
When you focus on weaknesses and ignore strengths, others build protective walls.
Adversarial leaders invite conflict.
Passive leaders create anxiety.
Teams don’t practice accountability until leaders follow-up and follow-through.
When you confront tough issues with kindness, others have tough conversations with greater confidence.
3 shifts that expand influence:
#1 Shift from who is right to what is right.
In one sense, leadership isn’t personal. The issue is the issue. It doesn’t matter who comes up with solutions. The person who screwed up last week might be this week’s genius.
#2. Shift from talking-at to talking-with.
Engagement requires “with.” The more you talk “at” the more you lose “with.” Talking-with requires humility, honesty, curiosity, openness, and forgiveness.
- Humility acknowledges the perspective and strengths of others.
- Honesty explains issues without hidden agendas.
- Curiosity asks, “What do you think?”
- Openness listens and explores. Defensiveness is the end of innovation.
- Forgiveness gives second chances after responsible failure. Honor sincere effort. Don’t punish ignorance.
#3. Shift from right and wrong to better.
Most issues are solved with progress. It’s about next steps, not moral imperatives. Stop judging so much. Start cheering more.
Complex issues have more than one answer. Their answer is better than yours, even if it’s not quite as good, because they own it.
Bonus: Shift from punishing to learning.
Treat responsible failure as a learning opportunity and taking risks will be easier. But treat people like tools and you propagate self-serving attitudes.
Carol Dweck says the #1 quality of a growth mindset is learning from failure.
What shifts expand a leader’s influence?
What behaviors short-circuit a leader’s influence?
Thanks, Dan. These are excellent shifts that can open channels of communication, strengthen teams, and build confidence with others. The shift that is more important to me is from expert to learner – Talking at vs. Talking with. Learners talk with people to solve problems and come to solutions and experts tend to talk at people from an elevated position of knowledge, experience or position. Let’s talk with people which requires listening to them to expand influence.
You have touched upon the influence of leadership on an organization culture quite well. An effective leader really care for people who work under him and resolves issues with a personal touch. He is the initiator and always looks at the organization interest first.
It’s always better to highlight the strengths of people while pointing the areas of concern. The leader has to be flexible in bringing correctness on his part through a meaningful mutual conversation and learning. However, it’s quite difficult to deal with an incompetent leader who gets more carried by his own ego and the beliefs based on formed perceptions.
People who are faithful and committed to serve at an organization certainly deserve better treatment in terms of better motivation and encouragement to excel and shine in the cohesive work environment.
Kicking the can down the road on tough conversations only allows more trash and other bad things to reside in the can. Eventually, you are going to deal with it, so I always choose to deal with it at the beginning.
Great insights! I’ve seen first-hand, the benefit of finding opportunity for growth and learning from failure, versus punitive reaction.
Love and 100% agree with: “The person who screwed up last week might be this week’s genius.”
You just never know!
Shift from barking orders to being a team player
the more I read your articles he more I appreciate the concepts to improve are simple, the desire or the skills are not
“Passive leaders create anxiety.” I think this advice helps introverts like me recognize how they can use their strengths to get in front of an issue before the predictable becomes a predicament just as good as an extrovert. Thanks again.
I like that you mentioned talking-at to talking-with. I think that this is something that many people as leaders forget, and it is very important. How can you actively work on this skill?