You’ve heard it said over and over again; Leadership is influence.
And that is true. You can’t lead without influence.
But here’s the catch: influence is cultivated in two ways.
There’s the influence you cultivate by investing in relationships.
And there is the influence you cultivate by knowing yourself.
Put more simply: Influence flows from identity.
A leader who is unclear about her or his identity will struggle to influence others.
1) You can grow your leadership by starting with yourself.
Self-awareness and self-improvement is essential for success.
You can’t give what you don’t have.
How can you grow in awareness?
What external metrics are available to you?
Whose input would give you a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses?
How can you develop your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses?
What input would help?
2) Relationship magnifies influence.
Strong relationships with those you lead will dramatically increase your influence.
Conversely, if your relationships are strained or distant then your influence decreases.
How can you strengthen relationships?
This question is not unrelated to self-awareness because honesty and transparency are great relationship promoters. But also you have to invest in understanding others in order to relate to them effectively. It is a great strength (and also a challenge) that there are no two humans who are identical!
Recently, I was talking with the leader of a group who took their Life Languages profiles. One comment she made illustrates both aspects we have outlined: “One of our team told me that now they understand themselves, they can relate to one another much better.”
This is why I love working with teams in this way; each person grows in self-awareness, and the team benefits from enhanced relationships!
Finally, when I understand myself more clearly, I can make choices to offer my strengths to the team. I can also choose to adapt my communication and behavior to help my team-mates work with me more effectively.
Character comes from intentional choice repeated as behavior.
Influence increases with clarity of identity and growth in character.
Influence is the life-blood of leadership.
And we need great leadership more than ever!