Leading out: 5 tips for being a more influential leader

Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 13:23
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another. - John Maxwell

The phenomenal speed of change that got us to the 21st century’s technological frenzy is not going to slow down anytime soon. The world in which we are operating is volatile and uncertain, our clients, staff and suppliers are more demanding than ever before, we are contactable 24/7 and we all have to operate on fewer resources than ever. Yet, we are being challenged every day to invent and create, to develop and explore, and to be agile in our thinking and innovative in our solutions. The ability to lead out with confidence and conviction, to influence decisions, behaviour and strategy is critical to driving change. Here are 5 essential ways to lead out and become a more influential leader. 

1.  Confidence: It Starts With You

Let’s get this straight – the starting point is you. You have to believe in yourself, first and foremost. Your dream and vision for yourself and your business future is yours, and until you get this sorted there is no leading out. Choose to be a leader who is brave, honest and authentic. Step into your spotlight and share your message with conviction because being authentic benefits everyone. Have the confidence to emphasise your strengths, what you add in terms of value and most importantly your point of difference. Leading out is making your own profile or brand as strong as you possibly can. It is only when you are operating from that position of self-leadership that you can truly give your best to other people and become more influential.

2.  Collaboration: Move From Me to We

Great opportunity to influence can be created when you move from a focus on ME to working freely in a world of WE.  Moving from the inward-looking, self-centric ME space to an outward-facing perspective, where there is active collaboration and sharing of knowledge, insight and intellect is where future-proofing begins as ideation evolves and strategic plans are hatched. Collaboration means we are smarter together, we move quicker together and the diversity and constant change within the world in which we are now operating is naturally demanding new solutions that we cannot solve alone.

3.  Continuous: Build Your Business Intellectual Bank

It’s becoming rapidly apparent that skills are an increasingly valuable currency for both corporates and entrepreneurs alike. When there is a true value exchange between those who see the value in working together to upskill, to engage their thought processes, to become more than they are now in terms of their intelligence, then a new form of currency is created – the intellectual bank. 

Suggest to a colleague that you ‘swap’ a skill for a skill – teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of, build the intellectual bank by embracing the strengths and skills of others around you and as a result create more opportunity to influence others.

4.  Conviction: Full Disclosure

To lead out and become more influential, it is imperative that we are individually clear on our value systems and that we live and breathe these values, with confidence, in every behaviour, decision and action we take. If we are to create the organisations and teams that we want to work within, that we want others to enjoy being part of and to build something more than the service or product that is being sold, the soul of the business has to permeate everything – and it's more than just words. Organisational culture is not created - it is the culmination of behaviours and value systems.

5.  Connection:  Build Your Network

A powerful network can become your lifeline. It has the ability to transform, to give individuals and businesses an edge. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The cross-fertilisation of connections, skills and ideas that are openly discussed and shared through network creation, in their turn create new opportunities, innovation and new solutions to existing problems. Build a circle of influence that understands what you want to achieve and whom you want to support in kind.

Each of us needs to lead out and embrace the opportunity that exists when we build diverse networks, create the freedom to discuss, debate and ideate, where the strength of individual thought leadership and expertise can be reinforced through working together, where each of us has the opportunity to influence one to one and more to more.

Leading out is about influencing with confidence and conviction. 

About the Author: Janine Garner is the author of From Me To We – Why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success published by Wiley.  of LBDGroup and works with senior leaders to build high-performing teams. For more information visit http://www.janinegarner.com.au