Influence is essentially leadership and leadership is essentially influence. Leaders have the fortuitous opportunity to influence positively or negatively.
There are several key components to positive influence:
1.) Influence Through Professionalism: You know professionalism when you see it. That is why it can be difficult to define. Professionals have the uncanny ability to take the higher ground when everyone else is laying blame. A professional approach removes gossip and replaces it with what is real. Professionalism is about being prepared and not showing up without a plan.
You influence through strong professional behavior that is full of integrity, trust and competence.
2.) Influence Through Your Presence: The coach on the sideline that does not get ‘ruffled’ when things look bad for their team or the leader in the meeting that sets the direction when everyone else is panicking. You influence through your presence.
Your presence is as contagious as a common cold. You influence through a strong, well differentiated and non-neutral approach.
Remember Your Presence Is:
a.) Contagious: People around you can catch the emotional influence you are putting out there.
b.) Controlled: This means that you can control your behavior as an actor can control his performance on the stage.
c.) Connecting: Your presence helps connect others to you and your leadership.
3.) Influence Through Goal Setting: It is difficult to influence toward a vision, if you have not generated goals to help you get to your vision. Influence your team by setting goals.
Key Principles To Goal Setting:
a. Right To Left: We read left to right, but set goals right to left. Think of the end not the beginning.
b. Think About Progress: How will you know if you are making progress? Your goals ought to have measures that measure progress toward your vision.
4.) Influence Through Performance Metrics: Performance metrics is about expectations. The greatest of leaders set high expectations for their team and communicate them. So often, I hear leaders express expectations to me their coach, but have not communicated them to their employees. It does not good to keep them in your head and have them mind read.
Performance Metrics Should Include 3 Components:
a. Productivity Metrics: This could include sales, volume and other number oriented measures
b. Efficiency Metrics: How well are your people using their time to complete tasks and reach goals?
c. Training Metrics: Skills obtained, knowledge garnered and certifications completed are examples of training metrics.
In summary, a leader influences through their professionalism, their presence, through goal setting and developing performance measures.