A person can have a leadership or manager title however a title does not necessarily give a person influence. However, if you want to be a great leader or manager you need to have it. It’s essential to know that having and maintaining influence starts on the inside then works out from there. This is because who you are on the inside reflects through your actions and behaviors, this in turn causes you to either have or lose influence.
In her article, Becoming an Intentional Influencer, Ngina Otiende shared that influence is defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.” If you expect to influence others then you must be able to influence yourself. To influence yourself then:
Know yourself- If you want to effectively influence others then you need to know, understand, and accept yourself. Doing this requires avoiding becoming an Outside-In Leader. This is someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time on their outward appearance or who tries to be someone they are not. When this happens you can lose focus of your unique personality, talents, and self. Keep in mind that, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~Aristotle.
Lead self well- If you want to influence people it requires successfully leading yourself. This can be a challenge because the hardest person you will ever lead is yourself. John Maxwell illustrates this in a funny way by saying, “If I could kick the person most responsible for my problems, I would not be able to sit down for a week.” Being intentional about leading yourself allows you to move forward and lead better. This requires:
- A balanced life- To lead self well requires a balance in all areas of your life.
- Time management- This is about knowing your priorities and spending your time and energy on them.
- Following your core- This is when you live and lead with character and integrity.
- Lead by example-This means your word matches your example.
Control yourself- Control over self requires being in control of your behavior no matter your current emotions. Humans are emotional beings how have different emotions and feelings. It’s not a question of if you will have emotions; it’s about reacting correctly when you do feel emotion. If a leader reacts on their first emotions during a challenging or difficult situation they have the potential to lose trust and respect, and possibly a follower. This is because during an emotional reaction, what one may say or do could be negative.
A positive example of controlled leader: A leader who does not react toward someone with anger and frustration after the person has lost an important client. In this situation there is needed correction but a good leader knows how to control their emotions so they don’t make a bad situation even worse.
Question: How do you influence yourself so you can positively impact others?