People naturally follow leaders who they perceive as stronger than themselves. If we want to get more people to follow us, if we want to get more people to pay attention to our perspective, if we want to be the stronger leader, start with these five qualities:
- Respect – We get respect by giving respect. To get more people on board with your ideas and vision, first start by showing respect for the vision and ideas of others. Unfortunately, many people in our culture take the opposite approach with a cynical bias and are quick to judge. An influencer focuses on the person as an individual, has a positive attitude towards others, and looks for something to compliment. I have learned that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to influence someone if I am judging him or her. [bctt tweet=”To get more people on board with your ideas and vision, first start by showing respect for the vision and ideas of others.”]When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, rather than retaliating against the Africans who had treated him as a second rate citizen and locked him in jail, he demonstrated respect for them and for their traditions. Remember the Springbok Rugby team? That respect allowed him to gain the influence necessary to help end apartheid and transform a country.Think of someone who you would like to have buy-in from for one of your ideas. This might be your boss, partner, spouse, coworker, client or employee. Now write down 3-5 things that you admire or respect about this person. Commit to the habit of your initial response being that of respect. And next time you meet with them point out one of those things and pay attention to their response.
- Courage – How bold is your vision? A bold vision touches our emotions; it connects with the hopes and dreams of all stakeholders. Powerful visions move people to action, while weak visions have no power. It takes courage and confidence to cast a compelling vision.If a leader lacks courage, what are the chances that their followers are going to emotionally connect with and commit to their vision? I believe the leader’s emotion creates motion in his or her followers. Share your vision with others and ask them how bold your vision is. Ask them if the vision inspires them. If it doesn’t, keep working on it.
- Success Record – If we want more people to respect our ideas or to follow our lead, we have to communicate our successes. We trust people who are demonstrating they will do what they say. Find an area where you can generate wins. Find those who already like you, like what you are doing and are willing to be a champion for the quality of your work and then turn them into raving fans. Develop raving fans by striving to deliver more value than others would expect from someone in your position. Do what you say you’ll do, and do it sooner, do it better. Once you have generated the results then get good at telling the story.Success breeds success. Little wins stack up to be big wins. Each commitment kept builds the mountain of trust with followers. [bctt tweet=”Success breeds success. Little wins stack up to be big wins.”]
- Loyalty – People respect loyalty. Maurice Franks had this to say about loyalty, “Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart-the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it-and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.” If we want to gain influence with others, we have to consistently demonstrate loyalty. We can demonstrate loyalty corporately – to our team, our organization – and independently – to our teammates, our boss, our spouse, our partner. Our loyalty helps build trust with those people, and increased trust leads to increased influence.
- Value – Find ways to add value to others. Look for ways to actively add value, focus on how you can help them (not how they can help you). For example, we add value to those below us when we help them develop and grow. Our influence grows when some has a breakthrough as a result of our mentorship.We add value to those beside us when we fill in their gaps. The average person competes with coworkers. Leaders look for ways to complete coworkers. We add value to those above us (your boss, your boss’s peers and shareholders) when we lighten their load. The most difficult task of a leader is getting others to buy into their vision. Consider it part of your job to understand the vision so well that you can help sell it to others.Go back to the list of people you made earlier. How can you add value to them this week? Look for opportunities to build them up, fill their gaps and lighten their load.
Increasing influence is never about YOU. It’s always about THEM. Respect them, be courageous for them, build a success record around helping them, be loyal to them and add value to them. Work on these five characteristics. Be intentional with it and watch your leadership and your influence in your organization and your community continue to grow.
[bctt tweet=”Increasing influence is never about YOU. It’s always about THEM.”]