As you may know, at Carpenter Smith Consulting, we believe that leadership is the willingness to influence your world and the willingness to be influenced by your world. Recently, we had someone write and ask us this:
“You talk a lot about influence. I’m just not sure it’s all that important. What’s made it so central to your model of leadership? What about power and authority?”
We love these questions!
We know that people often believe that leadership is about a role or title, where power and authority are keys to success. So, when we started to work with leaders and aspiring leaders, we believed that was true, too.
leadership was more a way of being in the world.
People who were willing to step in and influence (vs. standing on the side lines with their arms crossed waiting for someone else to step in) were people that others wanted to follow. And, they became even more compelling as leaders when they sought to be influenced by the people they were leading.
When we created our leadership approach, the Leader in You framework, we were astounded by the success people started to have at work, in their communities, and with their families – influencing others and being influenced by others was clearly a key to success.
This was further supported by a study that originated with couples and was later applied to work settings.
The research found that when one member of a couple believed that the other person was no longer influence-able, the relationship was over. They may have stayed married for a few more years but almost all of them could name the moment when they were done – that moment when they realized they could no longer influence their spouse.
Research on business relationships found the same thing. One’s ability to influence determined how long one stayed in the organization. Influence gone? Done.
As leaders, if we’re experienced as not influence-able, the people we lead will be done with us. They may stay in the role because they need the money, the experience, or they see the role as a stepping-stone but in terms of their engagement in the working relationship – it’s over.
And as leaders, if we find we cannot influence our staff & teams, we’re done. If we can’t influence the team, we instinctively know that we will never create success.
So, to sum up our answer to the question, “WHY is influence is so important to your leadership model?” – simply put, it’s because we’ve seen that influence is so important to leaders’ success.
Whether it’s with your boss, your team, your partner, your spouse, or your kids, influencing and being influenced by can create healthy and resilient relationships that can grow and evolve over time.
Let us know how you influence and are influenced by others in your own life.
– Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting