cropped-influenceyoucanmakeadifference.jpgWant to increase your influence?  I think the 10 actions and concepts below will help you.  As you have probably heard me say or read John Maxwell’s writings, he defines leadership as Influence,Nothing More, Nothing Less. I work daily to increase my influence.  However, I’ve come to realize that influence takes time.  It requires consistency and tenacity.   Try these actions and concepts. Practice them often and  stay you will increase your influence.

Read it…….it’s less than a 1000 words!

  • WANT TO INFLUENCE? FIRST THINGS FIRST, ENCOURAGE – Start every conversation with something positive about the person or group you are addressing.  I’ve learned this over the years.  People are motivated by encouraging words.
  • INFLUENCE BY UNDERSTANDING  – Although you have a responsibility for self-leadership, leadership is about others. When I think about what needs to happen or take place, I think about how my actions, my conversations and my vision will affect others. I’ve realized that my performance is a direct reflection of my leadership.
  • INFLUENTIAL LEADERS EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF THOSE THEY LEAD – They look at the bigger picture, they understand the trials and troubles they go through. Good leaders become someone who listens to their people, not to reply, but to understand. Get in tune and understand the people you lead and you will increase your influence.
  • INFLUENTIAL LEADERS REALIZE  EVERYONE COMES IN DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES – They realize that Good Leaders Ask Great Questions (read this book from John Maxwell). The right questions will uncover a person’s interest and what motivates them. I think it is important to connect by finding common ground and nurturing relationships. This process will allow the leader to develop relative questions that will reveal their desires and interest.
  • INFLUENTIAL LEADERS HELP OTHERS – I think we get so consumed with our own desires and agendas that tunnel vision occurs and we don’t see the needs of others.  I have learned when we are first to offer assistance and help, we begin connecting in such a way that our relationship allows us to influence.  Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.  Look at those you lead, take action and watch your influence grow.
  • INFLUENTIAL LEADERS ADD VALUE –  People who are in it for themselves will never achieve anything great. Those who look for ways to add value to others will influence.  Add value by finding out what is important to those you lead. Value will look different in every situation.  A good leader will ask great questions to identify what value looks like.  Treat value independently to the person.
  • INFLUENCE WITH STORIES AND EXAMPLES – As a speaker, I’ve learned the importance of sharing good relevant stories. As a leader and professional, I’ve recognized the importance and effectiveness of sharing good stories with those I influence. People want to see the human side of leaders. I believe stories create a sense of belonging and connect us through life’s similarities.  Leaders who learn to master the art of good storytelling are the one’s who attract followers.Showing-direction-influence
  • INFLUENCE BY GIVING OF YOURSELF WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED –  Give without any strings attached. I believe it is very important to be in “in tune” with those you lead or have potential influence with. Christopher Reeve said “Success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take”.  When we give without any strings attached, we will benefit professionally and personally and professionally.
  • PEOPLE OF INFLUENCE KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF A NAME – What is so important about a person’s name?  It is how we identify them.  Sure there are many people who have the same name, but what happens when you call a random name in a crowd?  People respond.   Learn the names of those you meet and associate with.   Few sounds are as sweet to a person as hearing their spoken name, few sounds are as irritating when you refer to someone by the wrong name.  Remembering names, shows you value them.
  • INFLUENTIAL LEADERS PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGE STRENGTHS – I think one of the best ways to gain influence is to acknowledge a person’s strengths.   Areas within their personality or employment that seems to tie them well to the organization. When people are recognized for what they do well, they gain an enthusiasim to do more and do it better.  In fact, they will want to “Exceed Expectations”, not just meet them.  When people exceed expectations, everyone wins!  Recognize what people do well in front of others and you will be surprised by the growth of influence.

We all have influence, big andInfluence-2 small.   We all have things we are gifted or good at. Things we leverage by adding value to others.  Whether it is our attitude, problem solving skills or simply just our ability to laugh, we should be sharing our knowledge, experience and influence.  Employees respond to influence.   We should work hard to increase our influence by adding real value everyday. Do this and you will increase your leadership. You’ve heard it before, Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.  Go have influence on others!!