Have you experienced a time when someone went above and beyond the “call of duty”? Perhaps it was a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a friend.
When I first starting writing this blog last year, it took me a while to find my voice and my style. At that time, a friend of mine agreed to help me by previewing my articles. What I didn’t know was that this friend has a background in publishing. He didn’t just preview, but he gave detailed feedback, pointing out gaps in the flow of information and providing valuable suggestions. His input helped establish a firm foundation for everything that has followed. He genuinely did so much more for me than I had anticipated.
My friend demonstrated the final step in the connected influence model, which is “when you’ve done enough … do more.” If you want to have principled, integrity-based influence in people’s lives, you have to go above and beyond what’s expected; you have to go the “extra mile.”
John Maxwell says that “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” That being the case, his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership provides 21 strategies for increasing your influence. Law #5, the Law of Addition, states that “leaders add value by serving others.” He says, “I believe the bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives” (p. 51). This is the essence of connected influence.
Connected listening is the starting point of connected influence (or connected leadership). Once you truly understand another’s point of view, hopes, goals, and challenges, you may be able to move forward together. Mark Goulston and John Ullmen, in their book Real Influence, draw a connection between “the 3 gets” of step 3 with “the 3 value channels” of step 4:
- You get “it” –> you can add insight
- You get “them” –> you can add emotional value
- You get their path to progress –> you can add practical value
No matter how much you understand, until you help the other person by adding value to them, you are no more than a sympathetic ear. Don’t get me wrong – one of our greatest needs as humans is to feel heard and understood, so being a sympathetic ear is adding value to someone. However, in order to take your influence to the next level, you will have to invest in people by pointing them towards solutions.
My challenge to you for this week is to identify one person in your life who you would like to develop greater influence with. Make a point of asking about that person’s situation and look for opportunities to provide support and creative suggestions. If you have never done something like this before, you will be amazed by the results.
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