Cultivating Influence

In a recent conversation with a client, we talked about how to improve the team’s performance.  It was like one of those aha moments, to learn that team leadership is not about control and authority but rather it is about influence.    As good as that sounded, it did not mean much as the perplexed look on his face conveyed.

We spent some time breaking down influence and what it looks like in practical terms.  

We talked about trust – building trust and relationships as these are the channels through which influence passes. 

We talk about influence as the most important element of any leadership process but influence is not automatic and influence does not happen in a vacuum.  

To build trust and relationships takes more than a weekend’s retreat in a posh resort (that is good don’t get me wrong).  As Covey used to say, some things just cannot be achieved on a weekend.  

To build the trust and cultivate the relationships that yields itself to the influence of a leader is an intentional and focused process that takes time. 

Covey used to talk about the Law of the farm and harvest.  The farmer does not only dream of good harvest, the farmer knows that the farm will need steady work to achieve the desired harvest.   

The farmer must till the ground and prepare it, put the seed in, nurture/cultivate, weed and water it.  The farmer will keep nurturing and tending to the farm until maturity.  

Every action the farmer takes is focused and intentional.

The Oxford English dictionary defines influence as:

The capacity to have an effect on the character, development and behavior of someone or a group” (italics mine).

The key word here is CAPACITY.  Before you can talk of growing influence, you need to develop the capacity to exert the right influence. Influence happens without struggle and coercion.

To grow your influence and increase leadership impact you need to invest the time and you need to know what to do.  How do you till the ground when it comes to relationships?  How to you build the trust that is enduring?  

Leadership is not about authority and control, it is influence. That effect that gets people and organizational members to follow your vision and work with you to achieve it.

To learn more about how you can improve your leadership influence, lead an effective team and deliver organizational goals, click on the button below to connect with me.