Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.
- John C. Maxwell
Leaders must inspire respect, not demand it. A job title, a position of power, tenure, seniority…all of these demand respect because they are tied to a hierarchy that people must follow. Part of inspiring respect means leading in a way that sparks others’ passion and willingness to take risks to achieve the leader’s mission of their own volition. It means leading with influence.
Ariel believes that influence comes about as a result of an individuals’ ability to
- communicate with agility: dynamically communicate with confidence in any medium or situation
- operate with an authentic, powerful presence: authentically connect with the hearts and minds of others in order to motivate and inspire them.
Companies need to be able to get things done quickly, requiring people of all levels to work together to innovate new ideas and execute them before the competition. Influence enables all the members of your organization to be confident, flexible, and prepared for what’s next. It’s what will allow your organization to stay agile and keep a competitive edge.
What do we mean when we talk about agility?
A McKinsey report issued earlier this year hit the nail on the head. Disruptive trends have challenged the old paradigm—causing a shift from “organizations as machines” to “organizations as living organisms.” These organizations that successfully embrace agility do well under pressure; in fact, their performance actually improved when pressure was applied.
To apply leading with influence, you need to start by asking yourself—and your organization—what do communication agility and presence look like in a practical application? While every company is unique, influence is broadly applicable. To become truly influential, your leaders need to be working on these things:
Building social capital
Leaders need to build and leverage networks to get work done, establish trust, create opportunity, and spread ideas. To do this, they should be
- networking within and outside of their organization
- checking in and offering verbal and written feedback to their team
- mentoring, guiding, and coaching to develop others
- offering assistance and partnership in projects—even if they’re only important to the other person involved.
Collaborating for results
Your clients need results. This means leaders need to be moving others beyond barriers, navigating any complexity, and inventing new solutions and problem solving where others might not be able to. They should be
- using a “yes, and” mentality with responsibility and flexibility—this will also help them confidently take risks
- developing and managing a strategic agenda, and inviting their team members to participate and stay engaged
- articulating and defining problems, engaging others in needs analysis of those problems, ideating options for solutions, and resolving any objections that might exist
- addressing conflict with conversations that may be tough and then crafting concrete agreements and next steps for a solution.
Sharing a compelling vision
It’s important that leaders express messaging that motivates action using clear, inspiring, and relevant language that amplifies organizational strategy. They need to be able to
- present and share a message that remains consistent—even across different mediums
- use storytelling in a business context to share their organizational and personal brands
- adapt their message to address different stakeholders and team members
- embracing critique to hone their message and respond to questions with clarity, poise, and conviction.
The goal of influence is to create an organization of team members (from high-level execs to entry-level workers) who can adapt to, lead through, and excel in a variety of situations and challenges that are ever changing. The “because I said so” mentality may be effective in getting tasks done in the short term, but it’s not setting your organization up for success in the long run. Rather, leaders should lead by enabling their teams to be successful—giving them ownership and opportunities to grow. This will allow people to have confidence within themselves and trust from within their organization to work towards a goal.
Our leadership courses develop team members at all levels and focus on leadership, presence, and communication skills that create influence. If you’re ready to build an agile organization, get in touch today to learn how we can help.