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Your circle of influence dictates your path

Every business needs strong leaders to guide, inspire and impact those around them, to work together and achieve a common goal. To be truly effective — in good times and in times of great challenge — leaders must be skilled at the ability to influence others.

Good leaders influence others by focusing on building trust, fostering relationships, and becoming emotionally intelligent. Leadership influence improves organizational productivity and growth through engagement and motivation, rather than authority. This is why the most effective leaders are well aware of how to lead and do it through approaching situations in an emotional and social manner, rather than just using logic alone. Influence is most successfully implemented when standards of honesty and integrity are maintained.

Influencing is so-called soft power, independent of one’s positional power. But how do you acquire a mindset to influence? Some pointers include

- Building rapport and trust. Easier said that done. It includes being a great listener, showing an interest in your counterpart and getting to know him/her.

- Being likeable. It’s easy to spot if you fake it. You need to have the right mindset and demonstrate positive intent interacting with the person you want to influence. Look for similarities, be inclusive, and give credit for positive qualities of your counterpart.

- Be influenceable. Don’t win arguments if you want to win the hearts and minds of the people you want to influence. You’re not fooling anyone by claiming you have nothing to improve. Rather, ask for their input and show that their contribution matters.

- Try to understand objections. Be honest, authentic, and sincere in your interactions, and demonstrate insight.

- Think long term. There is no need to prove a point if you have a long-term relationship in mind.

- Develop a habit of gratitude. Never underestimate the power of a “thank you” given with sincerity.

Other aspects to consider:

- Organizational intelligence, understanding how things get done and embracing the reality of working within organizational politics to move teams and important initiatives forward.

- Leaders show up with gravitas, while promoting what’s good for the entire organisation.

- Influential leaders leverage networks. They are empowered by their connections with others.

Your circle of influence dictates your path. You cannot be an influential and transformational leader when you can only connect to half a person. Becoming a persuasive and influential leader is about your authenticity as a human being, your values, and how you develop your social and emotional skills. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a development journey, requiring honest reflection to create deep insights, a dose of humbleness and the willingness to explore new ways of being. It entails insights, practise, and new habits.

I coach leaders who want to make an impact in the corporate workspace. My clients are people who want to have significant impact, live joyful lives, and build a more sustainable world. If you want to explore your path to success and happiness and want to work with me, you can contact me at or find out more information on my website

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