Influencing others is at the core of leadership. It requires that we understand how to communicate well, are open to others perspectives, and are aware of when to use our influence. Leadership was never meant to be conducted in a vacuum but rather to be exercised through building strong relationships, working for the benefit of others, and seeking to engage others in our mission.
We tend to view influence as tied strictly to our needs as an organization. In reality we need to respond to the needs of our team, and even care for those in our communities and beyond. It is not enough to use our leadership to just be profitable, although certainly a business cannot lose money and still be in a position to succeed. However, the more important way in which we need to influence people is to provide solutions, speak out about key issues, and build consensus.
One example of a key issue where leaders need to exercise influence is systemic racism. There are many institutions where racism has existed for a long time and should be called out and changed. An example of this is the horrific beating of Tyre Nichols, a young black man in Memphis. While this happened in another state, we must respond because systemic racism affects everyone. Racism remains strong in our justice system among others, which at times fails to serve our entire population.
Our ability to influence others provides an opportunity to correct wrongs, to create healthy communities, and to foster a just society and workplace.
We must lead both within and outside our companies. We cannot remain silent about issues and needs where we can make a difference, for this is a leader’s calling.
When we recognize an issue, we should consider what our response should be and what we need to learn to be effective in responding. Influencing others requires that we tap into innovative approaches, collaborate with others, and strengthen our ability to lead the way in solving new and existing issues.
Let’s influence others to support our teams, to improve our communities, and to foster a just world. This effort is befitting the priorities and attention of leaders and their legacies.