Influencing People You Work with to Reach the Top
When we think about being a leader, we often think of a role, a title, a position, or the amount of authority a person has over other people. But true leadership has nothing to do with those things. True leadership has everything to do with INFLUENCE. Influencing people you work with to reach the top will benefit them, you, and your organization.
"Influence is, simply put, the power and ability to personally affect others’ actions, decisions, opinions or thinking. At one level, it is about compliance, about getting someone to go along with what you want them to do. But you often need genuine commitment from others to accomplish key goals and tasks.
Dave was the leader of our organization. When he hired me, he laid out before me the skills he recognized in me and explained how he believed those skills could flourish in my new position. It was not all about how I could help the organization. It was also about how the organization could help me. From that day forward, Dave gave me opportunities that no one had given me before. He stretched me to do new and exciting things that were beyond my training and experience. He mentored me in his areas of strength and made excellent training available to me in other areas. When I succeeded, Dave celebrated with me. He was my boss, yes, but more than that, he was a powerful influence in my life.
Influencing people is important in management leadership, as well as peer leadership. If you are committed to influencing others, you must be willing to:
1. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Looking out for yourself is uncomfortable enough, right? Committing to looking out for others is even more uncomfortable. It may require that you operate in areas that are not your strengths. In the words of a U.S. Navy SEALs' saying, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable."
2. TAKE RISKS
You may put energy into influencing people you work with to reach the top and they may fail, or they may surpass you, or they may be ungrateful. Then again, they may succeed, or they may take you higher with them, or they may remember what you did for them forever. Though you cannot control the outcome, dedicating your life to influencing others is always rewarding, both personally and professionally.
3. REACH OUT TO OTHERS
Peer leadership may feel one-sided, at times. You may try to authentically influence and help a peer and they may not return the favor. Similarly, you may reach out to those you lead and they may not reach back to you. But do it anyway! As a leader, you have to go first. Be the one to set the positive standard in your workplace for influencing people.
Effective leadership and communication start with understanding your personality. Take yourself and your team through our online personality test so you can better understand how to communicate with each other.