Influence is a skill that some people seem to naturally have more of. Perhaps at least perceptually, and not realistically. Influence can also be difficult to measure, as it is what I’ll call etherial. Despite the fact it is a skill that is harder to measure, if you were to ask a number of different people who know the same person to rate another individuals influence ability, you are likely to get a range of what level they are at. Part of this has to do with the fact that in this scenario, it is fairly subjective in terms of what the actual measurement criteria would be.
An interesting observation I have had about the concept of influence is that this term about a decade ago used to be reserved and applied differently in terms of who had it. Typically someone who had influence was an individual who had amassed a great deal of both experience and a wide network of people. A network they had taken perhaps decades to cultivate. Fast forward to the word “influencer” and how it it used more commonly today, someone who is classified with this designation can seemingly overnight obtain this designation. Surprisingly also with what I’ll refer to as limited expertise.
What I’m suggesting is that the word influential has taken on a new angle. The more modern day aspect of it is often applied to people who are referred to as “influencers”, and this can be in a wide ranging amount of categories. Categories that perhaps five to ten years ago may not have existed, or at least not in the now commonly understood ways.
Now a days much younger people are considering what they can do to gain influence. For context, I’m talking about people in their early teens via mid twenties. When I think back to what I was thinking about during those years as I was growing up, I can definitively tell you I was not thinking about being influential in any way. In fact, if I had thought about what it would take to be influential, I know I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pull off any type of influence. So, the fact we now have such young people who are influencing others in their respective decade of life, and perhaps well beyond this is something I find fascinating.
One of the things I find fascinating about a young persons ability to influence others is whether they understand the level of responsibility that comes along with influencing others? I’m going to suggest they either are not aware of this, or are not prepared emotionally and with enough life experience to handle the influence level they have. Or, without the proper guidance from more experienced and mature individuals.
Let’s think about a young leaders ability to influence others. When you break down the essential elements involved with navigating the process to lead others, many young leaders of both business and sports teams struggle with strategically applying the concept of influence. More importantly appreciating the impact it might unexpectantly have on others. In other words the darker side to influence, and the side that can be crossed both knowingly or unknowingly.
If you were to be able to steer the concept of influence, it would make it much easier for young leaders in particular to navigate. However, similar to first time drivers taking the wheel of a car, the risk of their first attempt of successfully ending up where they want to be without incident statistically might not be in their favor. Although there is the concept of beginners luck.
When I’m in conversations with inexperienced leaders or sports coaches, I find they have a few things in common. One of them is an unrealistic amount of confidence in their decision making abilities. A second challenge is that they haven’t had enough experience with conversationally being able to articulate succinctly what their “end goal” is for the team that will be carrying it out. In other words, there tends to be a great deal of ambiguity and grey areas in terms of the communication level the majority possess. The third characteristic in common is that their ability to successfully forecast the outcome of their actual influence is going to be on the lower side versus an experienced leader or sports coach. Not always, but the majority of time this is the reality which plays out.
Depending on whether having more influence is something you desire or would like to more informally increase your ability in this area, below are some suggestions I have which can apply to both business leaders and sports coaches.
- Influence can have a wide range of outcomes. Some are extreme, while others are so minor they are barely perceptible. Factor in ahead of time which end of the spectrum you want your influence to be.
- The reality is that influence can be on a case by case basis. You are likely going to have more natural and less effort that will need to be applied to some people on your team, but consider if there is a common denominator in terms of why you seem to have more influence on some people versus others.
- Being a top level influential leader will require you to ride the line of being both subtle and at times overt. Finding the middle ground takes both patience and practice, and there will be times that you will be extremely frustrated, and other times when you wished you had applied your influence sooner.
- Being influential doesn’t mean being deceptive. In fact, some of the most influential people are ones that are completely transparent, and can routinely apply their skills in this area with magnificent results.
- If you feel that applying your influence doesn’t come naturally to you, the good news is that there are a myriad of types of how to go about applying your influence. The one I always recommend is to lean into being authentically you, and don’t try to mimic someone else’s influence style. It will feel both wrong, and others will notice your awkwardness, and you will be less likely to obtain the results you are seeking.
- Independent of their status or title, take notice of others around you who seemingly have mastered the art of influence. Pay attention to their body language, tone of voice, the type of words they choose, the timing and location of where and who they are applying their influence too. Getting one of these factors wrong can have negative consequences to the level of influence you could have obtained. In other words, carefully think through how to apply your influence, until you get to the point of more naturally being able to do so.
Having the ability to influence others isn’t something which everyone desires to do. However, when a leader or sports coach carefully wields their influence, is typically when the magic and end results they are seeking for their teams all starts to reveal itself.
#Leadership #Leader #Business #Management #Teams #Influence #Beinginfluential #Influencers #Teamdynamics #Motivation #Sports #Sportsteams #Coach #Sportscoach #Communication #Success