15. Be Aware of the Influence You Already Have As a LeaderJan 19, 2022
Unless you live in 100% isolation in Outer Mongolia with no internet, it's highly likely you impacted someone else today. And you probably haven't any clue when, how or who.
Which is how most people move throughout life.
Often the soft skill brigade will say “hey you need to GAIN more impact” or HAVE more influence.
What if I said, you already have influence? In fact, you already impacted someone today but you didn’t see it. Someone noticed you - and it might be for reasons you never thought of.
The question dear reader is not ‘If’ you impact, it is ‘how’.
It is extremely easy to be ignored. To feel lonely, unheard or simply 'unseen'. This is true.
However, as humans, it is impossible not to impact someone else due to the way our brains pick up on things.
“But, I try hard to get others to notice me”, yes I realise this might feel that you’ve had no impact at all, but its a case of how, not If. Brains pick up an awareness of someone, and those horrible times when you feel ignored, or unnoticed which means they are unconsciously noting you.
The way your brain is designed to take in information about every human you interact or come into contact with, think through your day…
- The person you walked past at the bus stop to get your morning Starbucks.
- The quiet one in your weekly progress meets that you haven’t had a chance to meet yet.
- Your 276th Zoom meeting for the day.
In business, we strive to ‘have influence’ rarely do we consider that we already do.
Even when you’re not saying anything.
Influence is a scale, rather than an absolute.
- You can negatively influence someone, i.e. aggravate, annoy or give an impression of falsity (this is why influence or influencer is getting a tarnished reputation)
- Have neutral influence, i.e Your influence has registered, but neither
Impact happens when you get curious about your effect on others on a more conscious and deliberate level. Just by being aware you start to listen more, move differently ad speak with intent.
The results? Well, some people call this presence.
You develop stronger relationships, the desired outcomes you want and the added benefit of a deeper level of confidence, and self-assurance in yourself.
Another bonus is a few higher points on your EQ in the self-awareness bracket.
Your brain whirrs unconsciously with lightening quick questions
“Are they safe? Are they a friend? How do I prepare for this interaction? Hey! I met someone with that tone of voice before! They pissed us off!”
In what ways can you impact without even knowing it? Here’s my list for knowing.
5 Ways you have impacted someone this week.
1. Your tone of voice
It’s not what you say, but the way you say it, and it’s true. Take the words “What are you doing?” and say them out loud. And again. Depending on how you say this, and where the emphasis is your words could be the same but still interpreted as angry, desperate, or even encouraging all depending on your tone, pitch and pace.
2. Your energy
How you show up, even on zoom will affect everything else. Influence starts with mindset. If you’ve arrived from an awful meeting, or a row with them indoors, or had bad traffic… think of what that feels like in your body? That projects onto other people,
3. Your attention
Your attention is one of your most sought after commodities. From constant messaging, emails, zoom calls and even eating a late dinner in front of the telly, your time impacts those around you, particularly the lack thereof. It is noticed when you are not fully present.
There's a lot of guilt surrounding the impact that your time has, it is important not to put pressure to be everywhere at once, however, being mindful of how your attention affects others will certainly improve your overall impact.
4. Your silence
Silence is a powerful gap, which can be filled with thoughts, anxiety or safety. How you create silence determines how you influence the other person. If you have set up a space with psychological safety, silence is powerful and invites reflection and exploration.
A nervous silence plays on peoples insecurities and self-doubt, leaving them to wonder… what is something I said? Do they care? Did they notice?
5. Your physical presence
Looks may not matter, but impressions do. Your body language, your facial expressions and your aesthetic all play a part in impacting others.
It's why design exists after all. We are visual creatures, and our external features share information, much in the way your powerpoint does. There is a lot to play with depending on the impression you want to make.
I have to say, I never used to head to my wardrobe in the morning wondering how my M&S shirt was going to make someone feel, but certainly, since I started speaking at more conferences I was aware that actually - people do respond and make immediate assumptions about not just who I am, but what I can do.
Here are a host of extra resources of mine:
- Download the pdf guide: 31 Habits of Confident People at Work
- Subscribe to the PODCAST: Ambition to Impact
- SCORECARD - What will help you excel in your career? Use the Excel Your Career Scorecard to assess which 5 areas will allow you to thrive in your career.
- Check availability for a taster COACHING SESSION - Develop Your Professional Impact
If you're interested in me coming to deliver an in-person or virtual, Keynote or Corporate Training package, please feel free to pop me a message on LinkedIn or email me directly at [email protected]