You can lead with or without a title. If you wait until you get a title, you could wait forever. – Mark Miller
The following situation has happened to me several times.
A couple years ago, our director, Bilbo, scheduled a meeting with a group of actuaries to discuss topics related to forecasting. In the process of brainstorming ideas we got passionate about different solutions to a problem. Ten minutes into it, I proposed a simple solution that was a not part of the regular play book. The idea got shut down. The conversation continued for another 10 minutes until Crystal suggested the same idea I said before. To my surprise, our director takes on the idea and moves ahead with implementation planning…What just happened? Isn’t that the same thing I said 15 minutes ago?
Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. – John C. Maxwell
Be it reputation, lack of connection, or delivery style, the fact is two people proposed the same idea, one got rejected, the other got approved.
In hindsight, I can now see that the other person simply had more influence.
Whatever the reasons, people in the room, especially the director, listened to what Crystal had to say. Both with similar experience, knowledge, and title, but different level of influence.
A couple thoughts on influence:
- Influence is about relationships
- How often do we end up doing what our closest friends do?
- How likely are we to help someone we have a close relationship with?
- How intently do you listen to the message of someone you feel connected to?
- These are all results of influence through relationships.
- Influence takes energy
- When I reflect on who exerts influence on me, who do I follow, it comes down to some level of trust. And we all know that trust must be earn.
- To use Ken Blanchard’s ABCD Trust Model, trust is earned by being Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable.
- These 4 activities require significant energy investment from us.
Check out how I’ve gained influence lately.
Have you experience something similar? How did you handle it? What did you learn?