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Is Your Leadership (Influence) Still Effective?

We talked a while ago about the resilience of your team. Whether your team, project or business succeeds will depend most on one thing: your ability to influence. According to John Maxwell, "Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

So, what is your style of influence? Is it the traditional top down form of leading, made popular during World War 2? Is it collaborative? Hands-off? Autocratic? Chaotic? Your ability to influence -- to persuade your team to embrace growth-thinking -- will determine how well they accomplish the mission. In case you've ignored your mission because you are in survival mode, here's a reminder: Mission Still Matters. And in the achievement of mission, people are paramount: both those your mission serve and those who work to accomplish that mission. Here's another reminder: Leadership is always about people.

Here are five points of influence to consider as evaluate your leadership today:

Personality: How has life in a global pandemic affected your ability to deal with others? Have you become impatient or withdrawn as you navigate your personal challenges of life in 2020? Have you noticed a difference in how your team interacts with each other? Leadership mapping and assessments can be helpful because they will give you insights into your leadership tendencies, and ways to adjust that style to accommodate the needs of your team. Here a free one that I found: Consider taking it with your team as a group activity, and discuss your similarities and differences.

Pain Points: Do you have the capacity to identify with the pain of others? When confronted with the pain of others, do you respond sympathetically or empathetically? One response says, “Oh that’s too bad; I feel sorry for you,” while the other response is, “That is really hard. How can I be with you in this?” What pain(s) is your team experiencing now, and are you willing to "touch" that place of pain? Relationships and emotions are messy -- your level of influence will be affected by the degree to which you are willing to be with others in their pain.

Are you struggling with a sales strategy? Join Michele Aikens & Ken Cheatham as we discuss the sales cycle. Remember in business nothing happens until something gets sold. Click to listen:

Position: While on the organization chart you may hold one position: director, manager, CEO, etc., but your position in the culture of your organization will tell more about your influence with the team you serve. Are you viewed as an agent of change or of status quo? Status quo doesn't consider the changing environment of today's world. Your position, if it is one of courage and creativity gives your team permission to not only think outside of the box, but to build an octagon if the box doesn't work. Consider your real position of influencing others' behaviors more than where you sit on the org chart.

Posture: How do you stand in a crisis? Are you the person screaming, "We're all gonna die!" in a crisis, or are you able to maintain the stance of a "solutionist" when emotions, finances, and circumstances challenge? Your ability to maintain focus and strength when life gets tough for your organization will go a long way in influencing others to do the same.

Priorities: The team has been established to accomplish something; your influence will help them to use all the tools they have been given to own and manage the priorities of your organization. Your team's ability to accomplish established priorities in this environment will be a direct reflection of your ability to influence their position, posture, and personal strengths forward.

We are living in a time that we haven't seen before. The way we work and live has changed, in many cases, permanently. The principles of leadership, however, have not. The most effective leaders are those who are willing invest in their own growth and model resourcefulness in crisis. Consider the following quote:

"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." John F. Kennedy

Michele Aikens is CEO and Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications & Coaching.

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