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Developing Leadership Influence is an inside job

Leadership is a calling for utmost humility and service, requiring us to constantly work on ourselves

Photocred: Phumza Dyani

My name is Phumza Dyani, and I am a keen student of the concept of Leadership Influence. I am also a Leadership Coach. I am interested in leadership influence as I have seen and experienced how, as a female leader, it is a crucial trait to execution. Leadership influence has a positive influence on morale and motivation. It can also build relationships that enable access to resources (human resources, budgets, etc.) and help your people perform better. What I have learned about Influence is that it is often misconstrued to focus only on how we engage with the external world. This is only part of it; internal work is more significant. Lolly Daskal, the author of the book ‘The Leadership Gap and Founder and CEO of Lead From Within,’ intimates that leadership influence begins with self-improvement, investing in your abilities, and adaptability. A commitment to keep growing and learning will also increase your Influence by far.

Influence vs Control

Just what is this concept of Leadership Influence? One of the best leadership gurus of our time, John C Maxwell, argues that leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. Influence is the ability to impact the behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and choices of others. It is not to be confused with power or control and manipulating others to get your way. What enhances leadership influence is internal work of maintaining an attitude of positivity and possibility and believing in yourself. When you believe in yourself, it shows and rubs off on others. This effort is an everyday job. We do not always wake up inspired and smelling the roses, but when we lead people, we need to make a tremendous effort to work on our energy before influencing others.

There are also many other facets of leadership influence internal work, and these include self-regulation and self-reflection. It is also to work on our capacity to learn and evolve continuously. If you know you can develop and change, you surely will. You grow through reflection, evaluating what works and what doesn’t, improving more aspects of yourself as you go along. You will receive many tests on many fronts; the best will be to embrace the challenges as part of your development. The critical reflection you will ever make in the journey of leadership, especially during challenging times, is to ask, what is the lesson here.

When you go through challenging times, the most important conversation you have with yourself as you navigate through them is critical. Wisdom is developed through challenges and is often about stretching and creating ourselves. Our leadership approach projects back to us and shows us areas we need to build in our journey. It is about leading ourselves before we can teach others. It is also about working on those areas that need more attention.

Who are you when you go through challenges

Who are you when you go through challenges? For example, I have had an exciting working on my anxiety while leading Salespeople. You can understand how volatile a Sales environment can be and trigger worry when targets are not being reached. Every day focuses on attaining that target number, which brings many lessons about yourself and others. As a Sales leader, it is no longer about your Sales competencies but about enabling others to multiply your capabilities and do even better. Committing to trusting people and connecting more profoundly is the most significant part of the learning and somehow fuels their confidence in themselves and their Influence organisation-wide.

Once you trust yourself as a leader, you can sow faith and support the faith statements with action. The end game may not be visible now, but it instills that belief and positivity that will move people to continue implementing positive measures. It is also the consistency when the tough times come. Gratitude is also essential for every small win. Once you succeed, teach! Even better, teach as you are going through it!



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A Marketer, with an absolute passion for new challenges. An advocate for inclusive societies and work places. Love for Technology and innovation.