As a doctoral professor I am always concerned about the level of my influence. Our words as well as our actions, either consciously or subconsciously, impact those with whom we lead or interact with daily.

Napoleon Hill once stated, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

As a public speaker and organizational consultant, I have witnessed successful business owners negatively impact their employees because they did not recognize their direct ability to influence others. Off-handed comments and disparaging comments meant to be amusing, often had the polar opposite effect, and organizational chaos ensued.

Our words do affect others, and as such, make sure they are uplifting, motivating and inspiring. Leave the jokes or off-color comments to the comedians, as they have no place in the organizational structure. In practice, “You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time” as articulated by J.S. Knox.

As such, and given our ability to influence others, a compelling article titled, “How to Dramatically Increase Your Influence as a Leader,” as demonstrated by Lolly Daskel. I will highlight the salient points of Daskel and then comment in parentheses on how to add this to your leadership domain.

Provide opportunities for wins. (Create an environment conducive for allowing your people to achieve small wins that will magnify their potential. People will admire your ability to transform challenges into opportunities, and opportunities into wins. The leader is tasked with stretching their people to move to the next tier of excellence.)

Believe in your people. (There is no greater inspiration than empowering others to achieve their purpose synced with the organization. The simple dictum of stating, “I believe in you,” allows others to achieve the seemingly impossible.)

Serve others before yourself. (Transformational leaders are experts at losing themselves in the service to others. If character is what you do when no one else is looking, then you are what you do and not what you say you will do. Be authentic and serve others and watch your inspiration to others grow at a geometric proportion.)

Give trust so you can earn trust. (Trust is the foundational principle that solidifies all relationships. Exceptional leaders exemplify building teamwork, and, in the process, stimulates trust, which becomes the bedrock of organizational growth.)

Think bigger for others—even bigger than they think of themselves. (As articulated by noted author James Dobson Jr., “No man stood so tall as when he stooped to help a child,” sets the stage for transformational leaders. Service to others and helping others achieve their goals build diamond organizations. Selfless leaders ignite out passions and allow us the ability to mimic their behavior in serving a greater need than our own.)

Truly connect with people. (Great leaders ignite our passions by connecting with others and relating to them in a way that increases their own unique brand of influence. Forming true connections enables influence to transcend artificial boundaries.)

Invest in the success of others. (For successful leaders, there is nothing more influential than investing in their people and allowing them to reach their potential. True leaders stimulate and kindle the innate desire for others to reach their potential and, in return, bring out the best in others as well.)

Extend honor to receive respect. (As the adage goes, “you have to give respect in order to get respect.” Respect is never given, rather it is earned. Influence grows sequentially as you extend honor and respect to others.)

Lead with character. (Character rides in tandem with ethical behavior. Doing what is right for the right reasons and being consistent in your behavior (integrity). Influence is therefore predicated on character, integrity, and ethical behavior.)

Lift people up. (Transformational leaders inspire others through their influence and by lifting others up. Always show and practice kindness and attention to others. The simple act of being kind exerts more influence than you will ever realize.)

Lead with authority but allow autonomy. (The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. Leaders are not tasked with being a micro-manager, rather, they set the example and let others shine forth through their own abilities and unique talents. If you truly want people to respect you as a leader, you must prove to them they can survive, thrive, and even prosper without you.)

Lead from within: (Leaders should influence others in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others. Influence is akin to a fire, let it expand and ignite others so they can influence others as well.)

Converging thoughts escalate when we unleash the power and potential of people and organizations for the common good. Diamond leaders unleash these three values: ethics – doing the right things for the right reasons; relationships – building mutual trust and respects with our stakeholders; and finally, inspiring others to achieve their goals while meeting the needs and values of the organization’s.

In the end, as so eloquently stated by Rob Siltanen, “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

What do you want to change and what is your legacy of influence?

Dr. Edward Piatt, Ed.D., is a retired manager from the state of Illinois with 32 years of frontline leadership experience. He is an adjunct professor of business in the MBA and MOL programs at Olivet Nazarene University, and a doctoral advisor and adjunct doctoral professor at Trevecca University. He is also an organizational-economic development consultant and lectures frequently on Emotional Intelligence (EI), organizational culture, and leadership. You may contact him at epiatt@olivet.edu.

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