Today, I want to write about the Law of Influence. John Maxwell says that “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less”.
When I meet with managers and supervisors they are often focused on processes not people. Some seem perplexed as to why they cannot motivate their team to work with them, why there is so much dysfunction and why time is taken up with unproductive behaviour challenges. I receive a lot of requests for more training. In fact, I have had people ask me, “why would I care about a relationship with my staff or clients?”
The problem usually isn’t solved by more trianing, it is solved by being a leader. When managers are focussed on the processes, they miss the opportunity for valuable conversations with their staff. As John Maxwell writes, “the only thing a title buys you is a little time”. If the only time you speak to someone, there is a problem or they are in trouble, then who really wants to speak with you? Ken Blanchard refers to this management style as “seagull managers”, they swoop in, crap on everyone, and fly off again. If your staff don’t want to speak with you, they don’t want to follow you either. If you can’t influence people to follow you, you aren’t being a leader.
I would love to hear about how you specifically increase your influence. As an example and to get your thinking started, here is how I try to increase my influence using the key leadership factors mentioned in the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:
Character: I consciously operate from an authentic place within and care about the people around me
Relationships: I aim to find out about people, what their story is, who in their life is important to them, what is creating a passion for them at work and conversely what is not. I try to include people by asking for their opinion, asking for their help and running ideas past them. I make time to say hello and find out about their day. It seems simple enough but you would be surprised how many times it is “all business” and the personal relationship is left out of the equation.
Knowledge: I seek to understand my environment and who the players are. I seek out information by constantly learning in many ways. For example, when I established my learning plan for the coming year, I planned for some courses that would help me better understand the work environment of one of my clients. I don’t need this but the knowledge will get me a lot further with the people I need to work with. I also included books on topics that will broaden my expertise in leadership and human services.
Intuition: I pay attention to what my “gut” tells me. I ask myself – Why am I feeling that way? What is it about this situation that is creating such a positive or negative energy? What can I learn from this situation?
Experiences: I keep my own list of my accomplishments and challenges. I try to reflect on my experiences and how I can best use them to help others.
Past Success: I aim to gain a positive track record in everything I take on. I try to take on work that will push my abilities and create wins for both my clients and for myself. Success creates momentum.
Ability: I strive to deliver my very best. The ability to deliver quality learning materials for example has ensured future work coming through my door.
I encourage you to look at your influence with others – how can you increase your influence with others and thus increase your ability to lead? Look back at this past year – what can you do more of in the coming year and what might you do less of so that you can increase your influence. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on influence!