Ultimately, all leadership is about influence. It’s the single most important factor in your impact.
So how do you create influence? It begins with self-improvement—making an investment in your own abilities and adaptability—a commitment to keep growing and learning. That example is one of the most influential things you can practice. Here are some other ways to dramatically increase your influence with your people.
Provide opportunities for wins. Create circumstances that give your people a series of small wins that will magnify their potential. When challenges are mastered and opportunities turn into wins, people admire the leader who has helped them stretch.
Believe in your people. There is no greater empowerment and support you can give someone than to look them in the eye and with sincerity and conviction say, “I believe in you.” When you believe in someone, they can achieve the impossible.
Serve others before yourself. The best use of your time and leadership is to lose yourself in the service of others. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. The growth and development of people represent the highest calling of leadership.
Give trust so you can earn trust. Experienced leaders know that the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them first. Trust is the glue of leadership, the foundational principle that holds all relationships together. Teamwork builds trust and trust builds growth.
Think bigger for others—even bigger than they think of themselves. There is no more noble occupation in the world than to help another human being succeed. Leaders make their people better, helping them to go higher than they could have by themselves.
Truly connect with people. Leaders are responsible for connecting with their people and relating to them in a way that increases their own influence. When you can connect with people, you can begin to form relationships—and relationships are the basis of influence.
Invest in the success of others. The more you invest in people and lift them toward their potential, the more likely they are to view you as their leader. Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts but one life influencing another. True leaders bring out the personal best in those around them.
Extend honor to receive respect. Influence doesn’t come to us instantaneously; it increases gradually. It grows as we purposefully take action by extending honor and receiving respect from others in return.
Lead with character. It’s long been said that you want to test someone’s character, give them power. Leading with character means doing what’s right, however hard it is. Example is not the main thing in influencing others—it is the only thing. People will follow you when you exhibit strong character and integrity.
Lift people up. Always show kindness and attention to others. Your words might be filling the empty places in someone’s heart. It does not matter who is assigned to your team; what matters is who they will become because of you.
Lead with authority but allow autonomy. The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others but far enough ahead to motivate them. If you truly want people to respect you as a leader, you must prove to them they can survive and thrive even without you.
Lead from within: Leaders should influence others in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.