Influence Flows From Identity

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!