4 Simple Ways to Expand Your Influence
Influence, is a crucial aspect of leading successfully. With influence, you naturally have a leg up! And the good news: it’s something you can intentionally expand!
As a child, were you the leader or the follower? The bent towards influencing others often shows up at an early age. Some children have big ideas and are able to inspire others, while some prefer to follow.
I confess: as a child I was bossy! Not exactly prime time leadership material! If we played school, I was the teacher. I managed the lemonade stand, initiated the four-square games, and rallied everyone to play baseball.
Thankfully, I’ve grown over the years! I’ve learned to harness my bossiness and lean into more palatable ways of influencing others.
What is influence?
It’s simply the ability to have an impact the lives of others – to inspire them in a way that motivates them to…
- Take certain actions
- Alter their attitudes
- Change their opinions
- Make new choices
Even more importantly, influence is not…
- Overpowering and bossy
- Dependent on a title or position
Here’s the cool thing: we can all be influencers! It’s true! You can inspire and motivate others to make positive and powerful changes. And you’d be surprised how beneficial earning influence can be!
If you’re eager to expand your influence with the people you lead or the people in your circle, here are 4 ways to do just that! The best part, you have the power to grow in these key ways!
1. Develop Your Character
You might be surprised to learn that the word character comes from the Greek word “kharakter” for “engraved mark,” “symbols or imprint on the soul” and “instrument for marking.” You might think of it as a person’s signature or trademark – a visible mark that distinguishes them from others.
These days everyone has a brand – a look that they are known by, but your character is who you are on the inside – your habits, integrity, motives, thoughts, which combined add up to “your moral self.”
What kind of “mark” do you leave behind after your interactions with people? That mark reflects your character.
If you want to develop your character, focus on…
- Keeping your word and following through
- Practicing humility
- Living by your principles and values
- Being intentional
- Practicing self-discipline
- Living with integrity (the quality of being honest, and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.)
- Pursuing excellence
- Taking responsibility
- Being kind and genuinely caring
- Treating others with respect
- Being loyal
- Living a connected life
- Increasing your self-awareness
- Connecting with God
What else would you add to this list?
The Bottom Line…
be the kind of person that’s worth following. Take an honest look at the above list. How would you rate yourself in each of these areas? How would the people around you rate you in those areas?
Character is displayed by the way you navigate your days. Here are a few questions to think about…
- Are you “marked” by striving or by relying on God?
- Are you known for your healthy habits?
- How positive are the interactions you have with others?
- When you make a mistake, are you quick to take responsibility and do what’s needed to remedy the situation?
- How clear are you when it comes to your values, purpose, and goals?
- How intentional are you?
You see, when someone has character, it’s inspiring! Not only does it make them stand out, it makes them follow worthy!
On the flip side, when someone lacks character, following is tough. In fact, following them is only possible if you step up and operate with character yourself!
2. Invest in Relationships
Leading is not about telling others what to do like my bossy younger self. It’s about cultivating relationships that are brimming with trust, authenticity, and genuine care. With that foundation, you are poised to inspire and motivate others in positive ways.
Relationships take time and effort! As you invest in your relationships intentionally day after day, it’s sure to yield powerful dividends.
Don’t forget that everyone is unique. Take the time to understand their personality, values, strengths, and interests. Pay attention to what their dreams and goals are. Perhaps you can assist them along way, even if it is just to encourage and cheer them on!
Deep down we all want to be known and understood. The people in your life who have taken the time to get to know you, really know you, have far greater influence than those who haven’t invested the time!
3. Stretch Yourself
Influence doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. You influence grows when you are regularly stretching yourself, taking risks, and growing. When you are actively moving forward in your life, it inspires others to do the same!
Here’s some questions to ponder as you think about ways to stretch and grow:
- Where have you settled or gotten stuck?
- What habits new habits would serve you well?
- Where are you making excuses?
- What new something will you try?
- What goal will you aim for?
- How will you grow yourself personally and/or professionally? Will you take a course, read a book, work with a coach, or…?
- What challenge will you participate in? Consider the NO EXCUSES Challenge!
- How will you de-clutter your life and schedule?
Growing is a never-ending process! It’s part of what keeps us alive and flourishing! Proactively taking steps to grow not only benefits you tremendously, it challenges others to follow your example!
4. Tap into Your Passion
Passion is contagious! It’s a wildly compelling emotion – one that’s tough to fake! Leaders who possess passion, in combination with a clear vision, drive, strategy, and the ability to communicate, are powerful! Someone who leads from the heart with passion is energizing to the people around them. It sparks engagement and creativity in ways that carries over even in the midst of difficulties.
When it comes to passion, here are some questions to explore:
- What are you passionate about?
- Where is your passion shining through right now?
- What tugs at your heart or excites you?
- What have your experiences taught you that you can share with others?
Passion is what makes work meaningful. When your work doesn’t ignite your passion in some way, it keeps you from truly thriving. If that describes you, perhaps it’s time explore your options.
Influence is a Strange Phenomenon
There are people with impressive titles that are incapable of truly leading, and there are title-free individuals who are able to influence and lead in wildly powerful ways. For some, leading is not much of a stretch. For others, leading is a giant leap outside their comfort zone. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall; the truth is that you are leading in some capacity right now!
Leadership is about influence that leads to action. It shows up in places like friendships, mentoring, parenting, teaching, speaking, writing, and more.
The best leaders are able to influence up, down, and across an organization. Leaders are people who bring out the best in others, give clear direction, inspire, motivate, and get things done. In short, they make a meaningful difference – all because they have influence!
Don’t underestimate the influence you have!
The vastness of your influence doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you are utilizing your ability to lead and influence where God has you right now, today.
God rarely moves us on to a greater and more significant level of leadership and influence until we are good stewards with the seemingly smaller opportunities we’ve already been given.
What difference would it make if you expanded your influence?