How to Extend your Influence

The magnetism of isolation is control and safety.

Isolating yourself may indicate that tasks, problems, and challenges take precedence over people. During isolation coercion usually escalates. You lean more toward authority than relationship.

Worse yet, when you focus on completing tasks, solving problems, and overcoming challenges you sink inward into your own circumstances.

You cannot influence in isolation.

Ken Blanchard observes, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”

Influence and isolation collide. You can command from a disconnected-distance. Influence requires contact.

Think of the people you’re losing influence with? Are you spending less time with them? Either they have isolated themselves from you or you have isolated yourself from them.

If you’re losing influence, the contact you most resist is most important.

Influence requires interaction. Think of the people around your office that you most influence. Do they know you? Do you know them? It’s likely you said, “Yes.”

Commanding is one directional. It requires simple obedience. However, influence is two directional and requires willing consent. You can coerce conformity with authority but you lose influence.

You can’t antagonize and influence at the same time. Antagonizing builds barriers, fuels resistance, and, creates power struggles.

If you’re pulling rank, you’ve already lost influence.

The context of powerful, positive influence is respectful relationships built in harmonious community.

Community building contradicts isolation and means:

  1. You join their team before they join yours.
  2. They win before you win.
  3. They influence you before you influence them.
  4. You, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood,” Stephen R. Covey.
  5. You give before they give.

No one freely joins your community when they believe you’re in it for yourself.

Community builders reject isolation. They move first. They actively move toward rather than away.

How can leaders better connect and build community?