Locker Room to Board Room: Leadership Fundamentals Part 3 - Always Be Influencing
There is not a market for coaching people to have less influence with their customers
and teammates, but many people are not purposeful about working on increasing their
influence. While you consider my point of view, I would like to make the distinction
between influence and manipulation. The difference is simple but not always easy.
Influence is achieved only to help your team win and manipulation is pursued to help
yourself win, without regard for the success of others.
I believe that knowing how to build influence for your team ranks in the top five of
leadership skills along with humility, a strong sense of ownership, great listening skills
and effective communication. These skills helped me achieve my dream of becoming
a professional athlete and to be able to reinvent myself for a second career off the
field in the business community.
It is not what you know, but who you know is a common phrase used to accentuate
the power of influence even over the value of true knowledge. I would never devalue
the pursuit of learning but I would highly encourage any professional to make time to
learn how to gain influence so you can more easily access resources needed for your
team to develop and win.
Becoming influential and maintaining influence can feel like a daunting task. An
easier way to think about tackling this goal is to break it down to the smaller objective
of giving as good, or better, than you are getting from each interaction you have with
others. Once you have given the best you can give, let others believe what they wish
because you have no control of anyone but yourself. Working through each day with
a positive piece of mind focused on how you can help others is a fundamental part of
The one page summary below is Leadership Fundamentals - Part 3: Always Be
Influencing. The summary provides a leadership strategy, principle and tactics
designed to allow for easy reference and learning for you and your team.
Always be Influencing
Take ownership of your situation and making the decision to lead at every level.
Taking ownership includes developing and communicating a plan capable of solving the underlying problem.
Listen and ask questions more than you talk and give directions.
Embrace the power of generous listening and empathetic straight talk.
1. Believe that everything
is an opportunity
Positivity is not necessarily contagious,
but it is highly noticeable, so is negativity.
Influence begins with an internal positivity
that allows you to see EVERYTHING as
chances to solve problems and believing
that you can provide an effective solution.
Showing up is half the battle and teamwork
is what the other half is all about.
2. Do not defend, instead apologize
Once you have made a mistake avoid the
urge to defend your actions or words and
instead admit your fault and apologize.
Humility is influential and ego is the enemy
of getting ahead. People with the power to
admit their mistakes gain influence because
they counter with a positive attitude and
solutions that will help the team recover
and regain traction.
3. Set goals that force you to improve
At all times you must have at least one
goal that requires you to be growing to
accomplish it. Every day will not be easy
and sometimes you must go through the
motions in order to keep moving forward
towards becoming the best version of
yourself. If you can influence your behavior
to have a growth mindset you can influence
others to do the same.
4. If your team offers you an
opportunity, take it
In order to learn and develop new skills you
must do things you previously did not know
how to do. If an opportunity is offered to
you that will help your team succeed, take
it, and learn how to do it later. The result is
your team progressing towards its shared
goals and you improving by gaining new
5. Make your layups
The easiest shot in basketball is a layup
because it is closest to the goal. Once you
accept an opportunity on the team, break it
into small pieces that you can achieve one
after the other until your goal is complete.
If you are struggling with a goal, break it
down into smaller goals so people can
see the progress you are making and
where you need help. Visible progress is
influential and exciting to be a part of.
6. Set the stage so others can perform
After all the hard work it takes to build
a stage the tendency is to want to stand
on it and perform. Influence is earned
by stepping aside and allowing other
interested teammates to have the spotlight.
You can spend your time trying to become
and remain the king or gain
influence by being a king maker.
Great leaders are humble and
know how to build trust.
Great books that support these ideas:
• Leadership Charisma by Bud Haney&Jim Sirbasku w/Deiric McCann
• Start with Why by Simon Sinek
• The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Influence tips for new leaders:
• Continually give the gift of undivided attention. Calls, texts or emails can wait.
• Know what you believe in so others can have something valuable to follow
• Influence is all about your mindset and being positive is a choice
• People are attracted to positive people no matter what direction they’re going
• Maintaining a positive mindset is a power that creates positive outcomes
What is Influence?
Influence is the capacity to have an
effect on the character, development,
or behavior of someone or something,
or the effect itself. The opposite is to be
helpless, dull and weak.
What does effective
• The ability to ask and acquire
the resources your team needs in a
• Working with your team to
accomplish more than you can ever
• Having the chance for
relationships that are inspirational
instead of transactional
How do leaders know their
influence is effective?
• Your team is gaining trust in
you and you are gaining trust in
• Your team understands what you
are trying to accomplish and helps
• Your team is improving as a result
of your interactions with them
Locker Room to Board Room
Leadership Fundamentals Part 3
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