“At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse, a complex of wave forms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe”
– George Leonard – The Silent Pulse
At MarchFifteen, we are fascinated by business literature on leadership and influence. It is our role to have current business knowledge and the awareness to best help you every day of the week.
We recognize that there are many things that create influential leaders, but one of our observations is that Authenticity is one of the things that allows influence more fluidly than other characteristics. In other words, showing up as who you are, respectfully, each and every day. This is a believable and repeatable practice that great leaders understand.
This concept is well described in the Harvard Business Review Article: Managing Authenticity – The Paradox of Great Leadership by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones (HBR: December 2005).
We all know leaders who seem less than genuine, and I think it is fair to say that it is difficult to trust those leaders in the same way we can trust someone who seems to really know and understand who they are and is a leader who acts genuinely. According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence guru, they work from a place of purpose, conscience and give their best effort and in that way exert meaningful influence:
“Employees will not follow a person who invests very little of him or herself in his leadership behaviours” – a simple truism that comes from the above article. The authors stress the importance of a leader’s words being consistent with his/her actions. Therefore, there needs to be a connection between what you believe as a leader and what you actually do in your organization. For instance, if you promote respect and then don’t respect others, your words will wear thin very quickly.
To become an influential person it is important that you do a few things to get in touch with yourself if you haven’t already. They may seem trite, but they are necessary and advisable. They include:
- Get to Know Yourself – Through being able to tell ‘your own story’ of who you are, including where you come from, what has shaped your identity as a person, and who you are actually like elsewhere in society.
- Return to Your Roots – one of the suggestions that I think is particularly great in the article – taking a holiday with old friends and spending time away from the office and its dynamics. I have just recently done this – by spending a day with high school friends – and I must say they really do know ‘the real’ me.
- Avoid Comfort Zones – by stepping out of your routines, seeking new adventures and taking some risks.
- Honest Feedback – another great way to understand yourself. You can participate in a formal 360 at work, using tools that companies like MarchFifteen offer, and/or you can ask your family and friends what they think about you, or how they experience your presence day-to-day.
Starting here, concentrating next on getting to know others better and reading your environment will start to help you to have the kind of influence you are hoping for in your workplace and life environment.
Look for Part 2 of this Blog – Leadership Influence – The Power of Influence Building Enduring Business for a World of Constant Change. It will include: stakeholder management, speaking the language of others, knowing your audience, anticipating impact and advantages and benefits of paying attention.