John Maxwell defines leading as influencing. President Eisenhower defined it as, “getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” While influence, or persuasion, remains a critical skill, polishing that skill requires some analysis. We must first learn to identify and then focus on what currently drives others; it is then that your influence is given a boost.
We all think we are highly credible, but we need to validate that perception. Living in an illusion is not smart. I was working with a CEO who was asked at a staff meeting on Friday if a layoff was planned. He empathetically said no, but the following Wednesday the firm did conduct a layoff. He chose the desire to be popular over the need to be credible. Credibility stems from trustworthiness, believability and a commitment to high integrity. Read More
At first glance, exchanging information, meaning and messages among team members appears deceptively simple. After all, you know each other and share common goals. Unfortunately, communication and misunderstanding continue. Most of us are poor listeners who quickly jump to assumptions and immediately judge another’s message, rather than concentrating on the content. Effective communication takes analysis. Read More
Learn how to identify the critical mindsets that enable you to effectively analyze the business situation.
At some point in life, we’ve all heard the phrase “ … until you walk a mile in my shoes.” Although this is not a literal suggestion, obviously, it is a sound one that underscores the importance of understanding mindsets in business. When dealing with a business contact or situation, your goal is to understand his goal so that you can make smart decisions that will drive your success while further fostering healthy business relationships. Read More
The childhood fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk leads us to believe that it is possible to toss out a handful of magic seeds and instantly garner overnight success. Leaders trying to implement a culture change within their organizations may mistakenly believe this same kind of “magic” is possible. Unfortunately, organizational change through cultivating a culture of engagement requires more deliberate actions over a longer period of time. Past cultural transformational efforts, such as six sigma practices, visionary transformations, or various other change efforts, proves the case. Depending on the research study, the success rate of these change efforts varies between 9% and 30%. Even the high end findings are not very encouraging. It is clear that wishing for change and implementing it are very different. Read More
Business has undergone a sea of change in the past several decades. Competition, supply-chains, technology, and business models have shifted. Yet, many major corporations still rely on leadership theories from the 1950’s, causing leadership effectiveness to suffer. Certainly the tried and true frameworks remain valuable, but they are insufficient given the new challenges leaders confront today. Leaders need to know more than just about their leadership style. Read More
In my last post, “Which is More Detrimental: Power or Powerlessness?“, I redefined the term “power” to challenge common misconceptions and introduced the seven levers necessary to effectively wield power. This week, I will take an in-depth look at one power lever that is often dismissed out of sheer misunderstanding: system power.
While “six degrees of separation” has historically been a standard reference point, today technology and social networking sites have helped to cut this figure in half. In our world it is easier to connect than ever before. However, all connections are not equal. An acquaintance is not the same as a friend or confidante. Understanding how to use your personal power enables you to expand your circle of influence and power.
Every relationship starts with an introduction and a period that might be dubbed the “get to know you” stage. It is when we learn small tidbits about another person’s background, skills, and experiences. Some people enjoy working a crowded room, displaying a mastery of the fine art of networking, while others intermingle more cautiously. Whatever the speed, the ability to make contacts and new acquaintances expands our personal or Linkage power.
Linkage power stems from conferences, cocktails, social media, etc. and is marked by the exchange of business cards or contact information. These connections are beneficial but restricted. The “mileage” is limited to other surface connections.
Translating the typically superficial linkage connection into Relationship Power takes time, respect, and mutual exchange. Only then can you really “count” on another person or group. The benefits of learning to effectively foster Relationship Power include: increased job satisfaction, improved team spirit and loyalty, and the sharing of insights and information.
Cultivating a relationship entails iterative interactions that increase comfort and deepen a sense of mutual ties. Commonalities are discovered and differences respected as connections are transformed into relationships. Evidence of relationship power varies from a mentor who offers guidance, a team member who has your back, or a colleague who gives you a heads up. In addition, there is a sense of reciprocity in a relationship. Favors are returned, increasing the strength of the bond. Going above and beyond the call of duty to help another is the hallmark of a solid relationship.
If you are interested in expanding your personal power, here are a few tips to help you build both Linkage and Relationship:
6 Tips for Enhancing Linkage Power
- Just do it. Set aside time and make it a priority
- Attend social events and meetings
- Embrace technology. Find opportunities to interact digitally
- Be visible and accessible
- Build connections within your group as well as across the organization
- Pay it forward; help to connect others
6 Tips for Enhancing Relationship Power
- Show sincere interest in another’s ideas, initiatives, and successes
- Listen to concerns and suggestions while exploring potential solutions
- Take time to connect on a professional and personal level
- Maintain personal contact
- Request feedback and input
- Demonstrate respect personal values and/or cultures
Take a moment to assess your personal power practices. What will expand your network? What will deepen those connections into relationships? Today is a good day to capitalize on your “three degrees of separation.”