We all face moments as leaders when we feel like we’ve hit a ceiling. In any career, there are several significant stages of growth in leadership. Some stages are a clear reflection of your effectiveness in the role.
If you aren’t influencing others, you aren’t really leading. The pace, vision and behavior that you move forward with ought to be impacting and encouraging those on your team to follow suit. However, if you are not seeing these results, you may want to question whether or not your behavior is positively impacting your role and those around you. If the way you operate as a leader is not influencing others, there are some habits in your leadership that are likely lacking.
There is no five-, seven- or even nine-step process that will increase your influence overnight. Yet, by studying and truly embodying these actions, over time you will see your influence as a leader increase greatly.
Leadership rises and falls on your ability to influence others. Thankfully, it is a skill you can study, learn and develop. So, how do you develop and grow your influence as a leader?
Consider these seven practices to increase your influence:
1. Be someone others can trust. Ideas, campaigns and visions are all a part of leading, but they don’t build trust. Your team can’t truly trust you if the only version they ever see of you is behind a conference room table. Create space throughout the day in your workplace to build authentic relationships with your co-workers and gain their trust.
2. Be confident in yourself. How you present yourself greatly impacts how others perceive you. If you’re not confident in yourself, it is unlikely others will be able to have confidence in you. You were given this opportunity because someone saw a capacity in you to lead. Discover ways to own it.
3. Be genuinely interested in other people. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Take time to invest, ask questions and get to know the people you are leading.
4. Be knowledgeable. This is especially true about the areas in which you are trying to influence others. Know your stuff. If you don’t, the areas you lack in awareness and knowledge will eventually surface.
5. Be committed. Stay the course. Even when the obstacles seem impossible to overcome, remember why you first took on the vision to lead.
6. Be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not in an effort to climb the ladder, network or get the attention of others. Authenticity is crucial to build trust and create an influence that is lasting.
7. Be persuasive. Rediscover your vision as a leader and take it to heart. Learn how to capture the attention of others by creating a compelling narrative that others can get behind. By fully investing and believing in your mission, you will be able to cast a vision worth following.
If you want to see change take place, you have to create real lasting changes in yourself. While some of these behaviors may not come naturally to you, with intention and practice, you will see new habits form. Influence enables you to be a part of the solution. When your leadership is fully activated, you will have the capacity to naturally influence others.