In nearly 20 years of studying John Maxwell’s work, the one phrase I’ve heard him say more than ANY other has been “Leadership is Influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” That statement alone carries a significant amount of weight. But when you understand how to increase the influence you can have in your day to day activities, it becomes even more important!
I’ve never seen a company with a shortage of things to measure or one that struggles to find information that needs to be communicated to employees throughout the organization. And more often than not, that information is made available for just about anyone who’s willing to look for it. The challenge begins when the folks who need it aren’t doing much looking. It continues when those who happen upon the information can’t separate it from all the other noise they’re being hammered with over the course of the day. So even when the information is communicated, it has little chance of connecting. And if some of the stats I shared with you in the last message are even close to accurate, it’s absolutely critical for each and every one of us to do everything in our power to make the connections necessary to increase the influence we have.
The first principle John discusses in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect is “Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation.” He defines connecting as “the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”
Understanding our audience’s behavioral and communication styles can be one of the most effective tools for achieving the connection we need, whether we’re tasked with getting our message to one person or one hundred. When we’re able to determine that the audience is more outgoing, we can pick up the pace of our delivery. If it’s a more reserved group, a message that’s even keel is more likely to be received well. In cases where the team is very task-oriented, we can get right down to business. But in cases where the majority seems to be more people-centered, we’d better show some interest in those we’re speaking with before we march forward on accomplishing our objectives. And when we’re just not sure where everyone falls in the mix, there’s a simple pattern to follow that allows us to speak each individual style as part of our overall message.
But hold on: None of this happens without effort! I’ll pick up there in another blog…