If you want to be a good leader, you’ll need to be able to influence those around you. To lead, you need to guide the direction of situations. This almost always requires guiding the direction of people. To many people, influence is a word with negative connotations. It brings to mind images of Machiavellian manipulation and sneaky, underhanded tactics. But influence can be a positive thing. It can be the natural result of your confidence, intelligence, and charisma. What are some positive and beneficial ways we can influence people?
The best influencers are connected, present, and acting in the best interests of those around them. How do you know what is in someone’s best interest if you don’t fully listen? Take the time to listen to the other person and consider their position. Once you know what they’re saying, find out why. Ask questions. Understand the drive and the emotion behind their thoughts. If you really understand a person, you can truly get them on board with you.
The goals you have may be your goals, but they shouldn’t be. They should be goals that benefit and lift up everyone around you. If people see that you are only driven by your own success they will have no interest in following you. But if they know that you are trying to lift everyone up with you, they’ll come along for the ride. Examine your goals and plans from an unselfish viewpoint. Try to determine how you can shift a selfish goal to an unselfish one. You’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by those who want to help.
When someone makes a mistake, the easiest option is to berate or criticize them. But this is not a positive way to influence someone. Instead, try showing them that failure is part of growth. Accept the mistake or negative action. Then challenge that person to do better next time. Show them practical ways they can improve and push themselves in the future. People shrink from criticism, but they rise to challenges.