In my last blog I talked about being productive in a meaningful way. When you are clear on what you need to do and why, you are more productive. This puts you in a great position to be of positive influence to others because you have the time, energy and drive to do so. Influence is often seen as a manipulative trait. However, research shows that those who are strong leaders and performers do so with integrity, sincerity and good intentions. Someone who interacts with poor intentions, will burn bridges quickly and people will see through it. Nobody can be their best in a toxic environment, whether work or personal.
Someone who is a positive influencer will inspire those around them, not motivate them, to be their best. Motivation is usually short lived and based on something outside of yourself, ie. if you perform well at your job you’ll get a bonus. Instead, imagine an employer valuing your creativity and giving you more opportunities to partake in projects that allow you to use your intrinsic talents and skill sets. An influencer inspires an individual or team to use their unique strengths and grow through experiences together.
The other aspect of being a positive influence is how we connect with others. Do you see yourself as someone who helps inspire others to improve their perspective of themselves, those around them and thier world? This is the power of influence. It’s less about getting what you want and more about working together on a shared vision and everyone bringing their best self to participate.
Let’s look at the two parts of being an influencer and how you can integrate more of it into your life. The first aspect is owning your inner parts. That means developing self-awareness by looking within and seeing how you want to think and behave. The other part is your quality of interactions with others. Are you being mindful of the questions you ask and making a point to include others in the collaborative process whether it’s at work or home?
Owning Your Inner Parts
Choose your energy – be happy
When you consciously choose the energy you want to bring to a meeting, your day, a particular situation, you are choosing to take charge of your life instead of being a victim to circumstances. This can be one of the most powerful ways to influence others. If you are choosing to be happy you automatically have a positive effect on those around you. They see that no matter how challenging a situation is, you rise to the occasion and develop the skills needed to tackle it along with asking for help and a positive growth mindset.
This practice starts within and it’s important to be mindful of your thinking and what you are telling yourself in stressful situations. Others will pick up on your tone, subtle words and body language, so it’s important to take time throughout the day to check in and see what you need, how you want to show up in a situation and if you need extra support.
Own your mistakes and flaws
Owning your mistakes is easier said than done. Imagine making a wrong decision for a project that ended up wasting a week’s time and caused inconvenience for the rest of your team. Most of us would feel embarrassed, ashamed and tempted to blame others.. By owning our actions, communicating our mistakes and genuinely attempting reparations, those around will respect you more and it will give them the courage to also own their mistakes.
The other aspect of owning your mistakes is owning your emotions. Your emotions can get the better of us and cloud our judgements. It’s important that if you catch yourself spiralling into an emotional take-over, you take responsibility and ideally, a break to take care of yourself in that moment. Part of this is looking within and seeing what the reaction was all about and, once you’re ready, communicating how you feel and what you need in order to move forward. Again this high level of honesty and insight will have a positive influence on others.
Be a role model
What’s something you expect of others and at the same time you yourself need to work on? Answering this question will help you lead the way into being a better role model. You must practice what you preach and be transparent in the areas where you are developing skills you want to see in others.
Owning your emotions and mistakes is one way that you can be a positive role model and influence others to take full responsibility for their actions. Being a role model also means acting in a way that you would like those around you to be. Again this could be seen as manipulation however, when we are looking at it from a collaborative manner or loving manner in a relationship it means people bringing their best selves to the table.
How You Engage With Others
Challenging others to grow
Being a positive force for others is key because it helps develop trust and a lasting rapor. With that you can then be in a better position to challenge those around you to grow. By challenging them to grow you are helping others see the positive in difficult situations and automatically strengthens their growth mindset.
After teaching for over 15 years I saw a shift in how parents interacted with their children. There was less and less challenging them to grow and more and more protecting them from the dangerous world. This has created a generation of children and young adults that don’t know how to grow or be challenged. Bare minimum is enough and when things don’t go their way then they are very easily affected emotionally and demotivated through self-doubts . Not everything is a high five, there also needs to be a “what could have made it even better” attitude that will allow you and those around you to always be growing and expanding.
Be compassionate and understanding
When people feel safe they are less likely to be in stress and flight or fight mode. This means their brain is ready to problem solve, participate and be challenged. Everyone has their days when a little support goes a long way so taking the time to listen, understand and show compassion will help you build stronger relationships. Taking this time to be present with someone’s struggle also gives you an opportunity to share a new perspective that could completely shift a person’s relationship to their stressful situation into something positive and a chance to grow.
Teach people how to think
What is your gut reaction to this statement? When I first heard Brendon Burchard talk about this I had my back up and thought, well that’s manipulative. It can be and most of the time it’s not when it’s coming from a thought leader who is a high performer. Instead it’s someone who wants to bring people to their best, get them really thinking about how they see themselves, those around them and the world.
It’s someone who initiates conversations and asks questions like:
Think of it this way…
What do you think about…
What would happen if we tried…
How should we approach…
What should we be paying attention to…
By doing this you are helping guide people’s thinking to plan ahead, be critical and get perspective on a situation. The more someone is involved in creation the more they care, put their full effort and are a part of the solution.
Attitude of gratitude
The research consistently shows that practicing gratitude daily has a positive effect on your mental health, brain development and outlook on life. I’ve had a number of conversations with people working in midsize to large organizations and noticed that many employees didn’t feel appreciated. This could be one reason for the great resignation because people are feeling under-appreciated and undervalued. When we practice gratitude on an internal level it also becomes a practice of showing precise appreciation for others’ efforts, skills and participation.
Being a positive influence is more than just encouraging others to be their best. It’s about creating something bigger through a shared vision, whether it’s with a partner, team at work, or a personal project. Stepping up and taking the challenge to grow and change is better achieved when we take on the practices of being an influencer in others’ lives. It also helps you to have deeper and more meaningful connections with others because you truly get to know someone both at their best and worst. So keep asking those questions to generate positive influence in your life.