12 Ways to Lead and Influence Others
We are all leaders
I truly believe that everyone is a leader. Whether you are young or old, leading a large group, a small group of employees, your family, or just yourself, we were all born as a leader.
So, the principles outlined here are for everyone, despite your age, your position, or your status.
Great leaders have the heart of a servant and leads others with the wisdom of humility and the grace of leading beyond themselves. In other words, a good leader will lead past what's good for themselves and will lead the group, the organization, or the individuals, to a space where it serves the needs of those individuals.
Leading is a privilege, not a birthright, and therefore it should be embraced as an opportunity to serve others so that it inspires people to pass it forward.
One of my favorite leaders of all time is Phil Jackson, who won 2 NBA championships as a player, 6 championships as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, and 3 championships as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Phil once said, regarding leading, "always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart".
If you lead with a compassionate heart of a servant, then quiet strength and peace of mind will follow.
Here are 12 ways you can lead and influence others:
1. Lead with Integrity. The most important trait of a good leader is INTEGRITY. Take care of people with honesty, and a high sense of undivided and consistent moral character, and you will thrive as a leader.
2. Contain your ego. You are only as smart as your last decision! Be humble and grateful that God allowed you to string together more life changing good choices than life changing bad choices. Embrace humility.
3. Give. Give. Give. Giving is living. Take a piece of what you make, or a service that you offer, and make it a part of your life's philosophy to regularly give to those less fortunate. You will grow as a person, your leadership abilities will improve, and people will be blessed in the process.
Always lead with the notions of: Who can I help and how can I best serve them? It could be donations, tithing, pro bono work, or anything else to help those in need.
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4. Know Your Stuff. Be a Subject Matter Expert. Don't take shortcuts. Read, study, learn, and learn some more. People like to follow knowledgeable people. If you want to be seen as a leader, be a lifelong learner that knows the ins and outs of whatever it is you are supposed to know.
Get in the weeds, study when others aren't studying, read the latest research, and know your stuff. There is nothing worse than a person with the responsibility, status, and title of "leader" who has no knowledge.
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5. Trust your decisions and Trust your people. When you hire people, or decide to work with them, trust that decision. The way you show security over those decisions, is by trusting the people you are responsible for.
You don't have to over-coach, there is no need to micromanage, and you don't have to seize control. Insecurity will always repel secure and talented people.
6. Don’t over complicate things. Stick to the fundamentals and be efficient. For example: If you own a business, stick to the basic universal principles of business - make a profit, get a return on capital investments, streamline processes for scalability and continual growth, hire the right people, and take good care of your customers. Keep it simple.
Steer clear of muddying the waters with things that don't add to the bottom line. Don't change for the sake of change, but be flexible enough to pivot when necessary. People respect leaders who streamline, not cloud things with complexity, just for show.
7. Manage time like a fanatic. Your most valuable asset is your time. Practice being fanatical and measured about your time. Make daily to do list, assign time to each task and commit to it, mark off items as you complete them for a sense of accomplishment, build in some daily prayer, do some reading and get some rest and relaxation. Develop the habit of considering your time to be more valuable than money.
In life and in business, don't waste precious time and vital energy, on non-constructive things, and be sure to carve out time for relaxation and your family.
We all have the same amount of time every day. You absolutely will not flourish or reach your full potential, as a leader, until you practice the art of managing your time more efficiently.
8. Hold your tongue. The absence of a response is often times the most effective response. As a leader, there are things that, although they don't deserve your attention and energy, they will beg for your attention and energy. Your job, as a leader, is to discern the difference.
With that said, let me be clear
As a leader, you also must practice addressing issues with tact, without anger or wrath, and in a responsible manner that is accompanied by measured compassion.
As a leader, some of your biggest challenges will be knowing when and how to ignore things, when to refuse participation, when to speak up, and when to hold your tongue.
I'm not saying don't speak up when necessary. I am saying the most respected leaders use silence to their advantage, and do more listening than talking.
9. Choose words carefully. As a leader, your words have tremendous power. Practice speaking life into situations, because what you say, not only affects your listeners, but also affects you.
Always consider the impact of your words. When you master the art of telling the truth with kindness, decorum, and tact, then the power of your words add value and quality to the lives of those you lead. And people take notice.
10. Handle failure. You will make mistakes and you will fail. We all do. Failure should only be allowed to serve two purposes in your life: either 1) make you wiser, or 2) make you stronger. Don't take failure personal. Absorb it as an opportunity to learn, and move on.
When, not if, you experience failure, its ok and natural to be disappointed for a few minutes. After those few minutes are up, learn from it, grow from it, and go from it.
A good leader not only handles failure well, they also deliver failure well. Leaders are not afraid of the tough conversations. Sometimes those tough conversations are with the person in the mirror.
11. Keep an even keel. Don't get too high and don't get too low. Leadership requires resiliency, level headedness, and an even keel. People take their cues from leaders. If the leader doesn't panic, then 99 times out of 100, the troops won't panic.
12. Play as a team. Good Leadership understands that success is a team sport. Working in a silo just doesn't bode well for a leader. Leaders manage interpersonal problems between other people, and between themselves and others.
You must be able to work well with others, realize that you can go much farther with a good team, and be willing to cultivate and help others reach their goals.
The strength of any team is each separate individual team member. However, the strength of each member rest in the bond and selflessness of the team.
Great leaders find ways to work with people they don't always agree with
Remember, everyone is a leader. Whether you are a parent who leads a family, a leader on your job, a business owner, an employer, or just an average person, everyone is leading someone.
Always lead with the heart to serve others, implement these 12 ways to lead and influence others into your leadership regimen, and strive to be your best.
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