Leadership Matters

Created to help you become the leader everyone wants to work for.

One Way to Increase Your Influence


As part of my on-going training as a certified high-performance coach, I regularly do a deep dive into the high-performance habits that enable us to succeed above standard norms consistently over the long term.

Recently, I've been exploring the habit of influence, which is the key element of leadership.  There are certain practices that lead to increased influence and one of these is being an effective role model.

I often challenge my clients about what kind of example they are setting for their teams, even their friends and families through their words, thoughts and actions.  Behavior is so important because people do not believe the message unless they believe the messenger.  And our behavior speaks volumes.

In order to be fully effective as a role model, you need to be deliberate about choosing the impact you want to have on others.  That means choosing what specific behavior you want people to see, acknowledge and emulate.  In making this choice, think about how you want people to feel when they see you, and interact with you.

A helpful way to do this is to choose one memorable word or phrase to describe both the feeling and the behavior - and clearly define what the word(s) means to you.  Then, you can be more intentional about “living” that word, as well as consistently sharing and promoting the beliefs it represents.

This is such a great example of Deliberate Leadership:  actually, selecting how you want to make people feel and what specific behavior you want them to model after your example.  It is such a simple way to think about how you lead and the way you treat others as a leader.  The benefit extends not just to the people you lead, but others in general, including friends and family, even strangers.

As for me, my intention is to make people feel valued and special, appreciated for what they can contribute.  Even if they are not in a position to contribute right now, at least being appreciated for showing up. I worked for someone once that used to thank me “for showing up today.”  I liked that so much, I adopted it, and my team always got a kick out of it too.

As a young woman aspiring to be a leader who could make a difference and have a positive impact, I didn’t have great role models.  I often felt unappreciated and under-valued, and capable of contributing so much more, but not encouraged to do so. I was determined to learn how to make people feel like they mattered.

I wanted people to recognize and appreciate their gifts and their abilities and their potential to do good in the world, even when they didn’t see it at first.  I wanted them to feel seen, heard and understood, supported and encouraged.  I worked hard to learn how to do this more consistently.

The behavior this requires is to really see and listen to people with the intent to understand, rather than be understood – one of the familiar habits of successful people according to Stephen Covey.  It’s about listening with compassion and sometimes, patience.

As a relatively impatient person, I have been given many opportunities in my life to practice patience and compassion.  Each time it has been difficult, but I have learned to behave in a patient way, even when I don’t feel patient. 

So, what about you?  How do you want people to feel when they are interacting with you?  And what is the behavior that you wish to model for others? And is there a reason this is important to you?  Having a strong “why” provides additional motivation to following through on an intention.  Even though it was years ago, I can still feel that sense of being misunderstood and under-utilized. And it’s a great reminder to be the change I want to see in the world.

Increasing your level of influence is part of being an effective leader.  And building the habit of influence takes practice.  Choosing the behavior to model for others is one way.  Stay tuned in future blogs for more on this.