“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”
This week’s post will differ greatly from the one’s I’ve posted over the past few months. Today’s post will focus not on a way of benefiting yourself, but rather where you stand to benefit others. As I write this I am impacted by the statements that I will make, for almost everyone who reads this is in direct contact with me on a weekly basis. Therefore, the people who read this can easily keep me accountable for my own words. What do I have to say today? This:
In every walk of life, you have an audience to influence, a friend to encourage, and a group to benefit. When you choose the actions of your life, remember that those around you are directly impacted by these choices.
So what am I trying to say? Simply, your actions impact those around you in many different ways. How? Think about your reaction to others when they smile at you. How does it differ if they look away from you, or even worse, grit their teeth at you? Does a short, quick retort give the same message as a soft, well spoken response? The way in which we speak, audible and inaudible, to others changes the message they receive. To go even deeper, are you sowing belief in someone through positive reinforcement, or are you discouraging them by focusing on the negative? In our every day life, we have many opportunities to influence those around us, and it is our personal responsibility to make sure we use these instances wisely.
Let’s break this down deeper.
First, I want talk about the audience you influence. Different studies guess that we may interact or “meet” anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 people in our lifetime. Now, these people may be there for 3 mins on the subway with you or 70 years as a spouse. The level of influence changes, but nevertheless, you still retain some influence over every person you meet. We have the power, and therefore the responsibility, to influence those we meet towards betterment. What do I mean by betterment? I mean kind words, encouragement, a kind smile, or even a gesture of service. You have the opportunity to directly impact their life in a manner of seconds. Each action you take, each word spoken or not spoken, can make a massive difference in someone’s life. We are constantly performing in front of an audience. An audience we can influence, we can change, we can ultimately help. Check you message before you speak to your audience.
When we look at the people closest to us, we must remember that one of our most powerful abilities is the ability to encourage. How is encouraging so powerful? Ask yourself this question: “How many times have you looked for confirmation in an idea you have from someone close to you?” Want to write a book? How about run a marathon? While the idea seems crazy, far too often we seek for validation from some other person to set out on this idea. Now, think for a minute. What if we were so focused on ourselves that we didn’t take time to encourage a loved one to strive to become greater. Even worse, what if we discouraged them? Told them they couldn’t do it, simply because we don’t think we could do it? Encouragement is powerful to others, it inspires, pushes, drives, helps, awakens, and invigorates. Our message to others should be encouragement, not disinterest.
We must constantly be checking the message we are sending. Are you actions and words aligning? Are you sending a message of encouragement and betterment? Think about the impact you have with your audience. Are you a leader on a team? If so, you have a much greater impact on the morale of those around you. You never know how much someone looks up to you. When you shake someone’s hand, do you look them in the eye? Try smiling too. You’ll be amazed how it changes the conversation. Remember, you are always in front of your audience, make sure your leading them to a better place.