When talking about influence, let’s consider Websters definition: “The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.” The truth is we all are influenced by someone or something, and in the same regard we are influencers ourselves. In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he bemones, “Leadership is about influence, nothing more, nothing less.” So, if leadership is influence, who wouldn’t like to improve their ability to influence others? I believe, in order to be the best leader I can be, I need to increase my ability to influence others. There are some practical ways we can all improve our ability to influence others we interact with.
The first point to consider is to be willing to step into someone’s life, regardless of position, and influence them where they are. Everyone wants to be an influence to those who are at the top of their game. Who wants to influence those who are struggling, and at the lowest point? Most people will simply pass on jumping into someone else’s mess, someone else’s pain. However, great influencers, great leaders, reach out to those that are down and help back up. When you invest in those who are struggling, your influence is multiplied and you will have a greater return on your investment.
Another key to improving your ability to influence others is being consistent. When you are consistent in your actions, your words, walk with integrity, you build trust with those you interact with. When others trust you, they may be empowered to make the difficult choices, do the difficult work, and move to a more positive position. We all enjoy dealing with others who say what they mean, mean what they say, and then follow through with what they said. In constructing walls out of brick, things are held together by the mortar. Consistency in your influence is like the “mortar” that holds the assorted pieces of the relationship together. If you have relationship A.D.D. and can’t seem to stick it out your level of influence will be minimal.
The greatest influential relations are based on a transformational principle as opposed to a transactional one. If you’re like me, you want the best for others. When you approach the opportunity to influence others with idea of what you can do for them, rather that what you can get from them, your influence has more weight. By using your influence to help someone grow and transform, instead of your own personal gain, the influence is proven more valuable. If you can practice this principle you are coming at things from pure perspective. More often than than not you will be blessed in the process.
Feelings can change. For some people their feelings change with the wind and you never know how you will need to approach things. Where feelings are fickle, commitment is steadfast. Commitment is not supposed to change. Just like being consistent builds trust in the relationship, being committed lets the other person they can count on you. Your influence can only grow when others know you are there for them. If you are a person of faith, your commitment to others is actually a sign of love. Love is the greatest influencer of all, and if you approach influencing opportunities from this position, success is almost guaranteed.