I think when you talk about ‘getting things done’ you have to include a conversation about ‘influence’. But, you need to talk about the ‘back side’ of influence. So, I am not going to talk about the influence of the words you say. That’s obvious! Your words have a powerful influence and people’s lives can be changed by just your words of correction or recognition or encouragement or instruction.
I won’t talk about the influence of your actions either. They are equally vital, because of what people think when they see you do what you do. People who perhaps think that by copying you, it will make a difference in their life.
No, I want to talk about the ‘back side’ of influence. That would be what people think when you are no longer there. After you leave the room, when the meeting is over, when you have left the platform…what do people say about you?
Was there something you did that will stick in their mind? Maybe how you said it, or how you responded, or how you acted, or how you treated them that will be the thing that influences them the most. If you don’t like ‘back side’, we could call it your ‘after glow’…there is a powerful influence there, and, I believe that is where your credibility and legacy is built.
That’s when people say, I want to be like that guy…thinking of your style or attitude.
Today, people seem to take pride in ‘doing their own thing’, in ‘breaking the mold’, in ‘pioneering their own trail’. They really don’t seem to care what people think, but they should because people have unspoken expectations of a leader that seems to give birth to things like respect and appreciation.
That respect and appreciation has nothing to do with words and actions, but what they think about when they think of that leader, his integrity, his character, his passion and his respect for the position.
I have discovered, in recent days that my model was the president of the college where I worked for 10 years. I find that I think about how he would do this or that when I am in different situations. I have even found that I have some of his hand gestures when I speak and his style of listening when someone is talking to me. It is amazing. How did I ‘catch’ that? How did that happen?
He did a lot of things and said a lot of things, but the part of him I wanted to be like, the part that influenced me the most was his person, who he was, his values and passions…his ‘after glow’. That’s what I seem to have copied into my own leadership style.
Think about the people that have impressed you, the leaders that have helped shape your life. What was it about them that you appreciated? What was it that you wanted for yourself?
So, what are you leaving behind as you go along?