HOW TO DEVELOP THE ART OF INFLUENCE
Here Are 7 Ways To Be Intentionally Influential
“You can have everything in life you want just by helping others get what they want.” Zig Ziglar
Influencers? We hear how important they are and why we need them, but where are they? Better yet, what are they? According to The Free Dictionary “influence” is “A power affecting a person, thing, or course of events.” It operates without any direct or apparent effort. In that sense it’s different than manipulation or even control. It’s the capacity to be a compelling force. An influencer produces an effect on the actions, behaviors, and opinions of others.
But don’t misunderstand. You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. The truth is that the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.
It’s easy to fall into the snare of thinking that influence is a matter of position, money, or personality. Everyone has the potential to influence others. The art of influence begins by realizing you DO have it. Everyday you can add value to others. You have the ability to influence up the chain of command as well as down that same chain. The biggest influencers in my life were those that added value to me. The result? My life appreciated in value.
Here are 7 ways to be intentionally influential in the lives of others.
1. Influential people celebrate the progress as well as the accomplishments of others. The journey is as important as the destination. There are times when folks can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. So light the candles in their hands to illuminate the area around them. Help them see the steps right in front of them. The end light will eventually be sighted, but in the meantime you can add value to their life by cheering their efforts – one step at a time.
2. Influential people expect the best and give others the benefit of the doubt. People tend to live up to the positive expectations of others. Wanting the very best for people and showing this in tangible ways is a great motivator. By expecting the best in others we help them follow their good intentions. They may not reach the top, but they will have reached higher.
3. Influential people have a mission and are motivated by values. As you identify your own needs, hopes, and values, you are influencing others to do the same. Research (Daniel Pink) shows that one of the major intrinsic human motivators is purpose. When others observe this in you, they are internally driven to do the same. It was there all along. You just stoked the fire.
4. Influential people are emotionally intelligent and self-regulate. The ability to manage yourself is a key factor in building better relationships with others. Being aware of your own emotions and how they impact personal behavior gives you the ability to regulate your attitudes and actions. This is a powerful lever in influencing others. As Napoleon Hill put it, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
5. Influential people are empathetic and open. Their great influence comes by developing the ability to read a person’s frame of mind. They put themselves in the other person’s place. They are what Warren Bennis calls “first class noticers.” They have developed the habit of listening. They do so wholeheartedly rather than haphazardly. They ask questions to get at the heart of the matter and to clarify their understanding. They don’t interrupt – verbally, mentally, or emotionally.
6. Influential people discover new ways to approach issues and solve problems. They are good at reframing issues so that others can see it from a different perspective. They go beyond symptoms and dive beneath the water where the deeper issue is observed. They don’t get stuck in the moment – which is a recipe for inaction. They help others focus on the final destination and not the bumps in the road.
7. Influential people inspire others and engage their imaginations. They help others see the connection to their desired outcomes. In this sense they are dealers of hope. They help illuminate the practical and exciting implications of a better future.
Influence might just be the highest level of human skills. In short, being influential is a matter of adding value to others. The irony is that when you do this you add incredible value to yourself. As you influence up, you go up.
What are some ways you influence by adding value?
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