“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…”
(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)
We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!
With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.
All of us have heard the phrase: “Oh, this is a person of influence!” What does it mean? Even if we cannot pin it up immediately, we can easily imagine such a person: charismatic, self-confident, outspoken, determined, skilful in negotiations and resolutions of conflicts.
When we begin our professional career, launch a new business or provide expertise in our field, the prime focus of our attention is our professional skills and experience. Only later we realise that in order to be successful we are equally in need of knowing how to convince the others and to get them on board with your plans. And this is when the idea of influence comes to our mind. Are we ready to be a person of influence?
Who is an influencer?
When we have asked our clients to share their thoughts on this question, we have learned many interesting things! Some of them perceive an influencer as a leader who helps to move people and businesses forward. They see the power of influence in “who I am” rather than ”what I say.”
The most important features of an influencer? – Charisma and Inspiration of others.
Others believe that influence has to be earned. It is based on trust, skills and intelligence.
All our clients agree that the influencer is an expert, whose advice and opinion are very valuable and in high demand; who have an outstanding commitment to serving others. It is not the easiest life path but the rewards are worth of efforts!
This sounds exciting and promising, doesn’t it? But how can one become an influencer? Maybe some people are born as natural influencers and others will never acquire this skill? NO, NO, NO! Each one of us can become an influencer. What we need is to have a well-structured and systematic approach and, of course, the motivation!
Being a person of influence, you push yourself to the next level each time when the previous goal is reached. You help others to get better, but you also constantly develop yourself. Self-development for you is not just a big word, it is a life plan: you set ambitious goals, consistently learn something new, follow your passion and never give up.
Just don’t forget: a greater life is not only about acquiring personal power; it is as much about finding personal happiness. You need to find a perfect work-life balance, wisely investing your time not only in your professional growth but also in your personal life. Remember, the most successful leaders are those who can successfully combine professional and personal lives.
Five crucial steps towards the power of influence
Even if you are not a business leader, don’t think that you have nothing to do with power and influence. Salesperson or manager, we all face the necessity to interact with our colleagues, trying to convince and persuade them by changing their perceptions, by offering knowledge and experience and by making an overall positive impact on people’s mindset and their lives.
Just don’t confuse influence with manipulation, please! Manipulation is when one person uses another one in order to get a benefit or a profit in an unfair manner. Influence is when the respectful interaction between the colleagues leads to the positive outcomes for everybody involved. Where do you see the line between influence and manipulation?
Building blocks of the power of influence
Let’s talk about the building blocks of the power of influence. What are the must-have qualities of the influencer, who masters the power of influence as well as leads a fulfilled life?
It is like looking at your own image reflected in a mirror: you see your reflection and you adjust your appearance. This process includes the examination of your thoughts, habits and behaviour. It helps you to realise what brings you happiness and fulfilment, and what draws you back. It makes you able to build your own life principles that will constitute the foundation of your life and will show the direction to follow. When you develop your self-awareness, you can adequately react to the changing circumstances, adjust your own mindset without sacrificing your values and needs, keep following your dreams but controlling your emotions. Don’t be afraid, your motivations to lead, succeed and influence will not vanish! They only gain from your self-awareness!
Influence goes hand-in-hand with charisma. But charisma without empathy will not achieve its goals of influence. Empathy contributes to charisma. As a charismatic person you understand the feelings of others. You know how to be in someone’s shoes. While influencing people and their decisions, you search for win-win solutions. You are attentive to the values, feelings and expectations of your colleagues. And you shouldn’t be afraid to analyse and understand your own feelings and emotions. Only then you will be capable of understanding feelings and emotions of your colleagues. It may sound demanding but your efforts are generously paid off! Your empathy will increase loyalty, engagement and productivity of the people you work with!
Once you are good at empathy, check the other crucial social skills. Although social skills are often called soft skills as compared to your professional skills, don’t underestimate their importance! Are you a good listener? Do you listen your colleagues without interrupting them; do you make a proper eye contact while you are listening? And what about your verbal and non-verbal communication skills? Have you ever realized that when you speak only 7% of your message is conveyed through words, the rest is your body language and the tone of your voice! Equally important are your manners and overall positiveness. If you master all these skills, there is no doubt you are really good at cooperation, - another important social skill!
Once you have mastered your self-awareness, empathy and social skills, you will excel in networking. Networking is all about building strong relationships, establishing and using connections, which will contribute to the fulfillment of your goals. The networking is not only about “to take”, but also about “to give”. When you are fulfilled, you know your values and you can interact with others without losing your authenticity. You take your time to know the others; you keep friendly communication with everyone; you bring in new ideas, which are commonly beneficial; you intuitively choose collaborations that accelerate your projects. People welcome you warmly and look forward to getting in touch with you again.
It is easy to say that only gifted people can have an influence. But this is not true. Absolutely everyone has a potential to be an influencer! It doesn’t matter where you want to apply your power to influence: in sales, management, business in general, or within your family. A chance to change ourselves, our family, our world is in our hands! Why coaching is important for an influencer? It is, actually, simple: with a gentle push and a friendly advice, you can quicker find your way towards your goal. It’s a bit like coaching for sporting achievements: even the greatest stars need a coach to learn new techniques and overcome existing difficulties.
Let’s sum up the magic formula of influence:
Self-awareness + empathy + social skills + networking + coaching
= a top class influencer