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.

  1. Humility acknowledges the perspective and strengths of others.
  2. Honesty explains issues without hidden agendas.
  3. Curiosity asks, “What do you think?”
  4. Openness listens and explores. Defensiveness is the end of innovation.
  5. 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 risk is 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?

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