If you’re like me, when you read the title of this chapter “Overcoming the Influence Deficit”, you might think: “What deficit?”, “Geeks are great influencers!”, but when we’re honest, we realize that we normally are far off from the amount of influence that suits can have.
There are kind of two aspects to this topic, when I think about having influence. I think about trust and credibility. So I think that this relates to both being the employee or contractor, and also leading. In my experience as a freelancer, most of my clients have trusted my credibility and knowledge, which I see as a form of influence. At times, I’ve had to convince clients or people I’m working for that my way is the better way, and that it’ll end up being best for them in the long run as well. The flip side is leading. I’ve not done a ton of leading so far as I’m still early in my career, but I have had some experience.
Starting off, I want to quickly look at a good chart with 6 sources of influence.
There are three rows, which are personal, social, and structural. Then there are two columns which are motivation and ability. You see for each category (Personal, Social, Structural) there is a motivation, and ability. For social, the motivation is that you need to make the undesirable desirable, and to do that (or the ability) is to over invest in skill building. For social, the motivation is to harness peer pressure, and the way that you do that is by finding strength in numbers. For structural, you need to design rewards and demand accountability, and to do that you need to change the environment.
Now to go into a little bit more depth about how to be more influential and what influential leaders look like, I found a great article titled: “12 Most Effective Ways To Become Influential“, written by Diesel Laws. One of the starting lines of the article says: “By its definition, influence is: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.” which I thought was kind of a neat thought to keep in mind while reading the 12 ways to be more influential in leadership.
1. Build Something.
According to Diesel, one of the fastest ways to gain influence is to build something. If it takes off, you will have a lot of followers who are influenced by you.
2. Take Risks
Good and influential leaders must also be able to take (normally) calculated risks. Sometimes it fails, but sometimes you also get great success stories.
3. Share Your Experiences
Most of us specialize in something, one way to be a great influence is to share what you’ve learned with other people who are interested in all of the knowledge that you have.
4. Show Your Face
Diesel opens up #4 with: “If your audience can’t see you, they can’t connect to you.” Be real, and be humble. Be accessible to those under you, and listen to them.
5. Stand For Something
Preferably not something awful like the Chicago Cubs, or the New England Patriots, but stand for something. The more influence that you gain, the more people you have both on your side, and also against you, so you need to make sure you remember what you stand for.
6. Speak Confidently
Those who can speak confidently are also normally those with the most influence, the great leaders of our age.
7. Be Nice
This may sound somewhat odd thrown into steps like “Take Risks, Speak Confidently”, but it makes sense. Even if someone isn’t nice themselves, would they really want to be influenced and follow someone who isn’t nice to them? No. This shouldn’t be that tricky of one for most of us, but I suppose it could be for some people.
8. Be Interactive
You must be interactive and connect yourself with your fans or followers. Get involved in their conversations and hang out with them on a personal level, not just a business level. Show them that you care about them as a person.
9. Take Action For Reaction
The example he gives for this one is a music artist who creates a new style of music by blending two genres or something. He gets a lot of energy, even if its negative, and a lot of awareness of him as an artist, even if it wasn’t the best sounding stuff he’s written. You need to think about this as you lead.
10. Be Everywhere
This isn’t in some weird ghost or God like way. You should have enough stuff that if your name is Googled for instance, that you come up with a lot of results. The more places you are, the more chances you have to influence people.
11. Give Free Advice
The idea here is that the more advice you give away for free, the more your personal brand is out there and the more people are influenced by your brand.
12. Have An Entourage
“As your influence grows, there will be people who will just want to be by your side every second of the day, just in case you drop some ‘gems’ of inspiration” When I first read that, I was thinking of it in terms of business partners. But what he’s trying to get across is that when it’s common knowledge that you have a lot of amazing advice and knowledge, people will want to be around you constantly in case they can learn something from you.
So a great article, with 12 things to focus on to become more influential, and most shouldn’t be that hard to work on, with a lot of practice. If you are interested in another article that walks through 25 things that influential leaders do better than anyone else, click here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2013/09/18/25-things-influential-people-do-better-than-anyone-else/
And as always, enjoy some of the images below related to this topic and the above articles (summarized, and linked):