Archive for Influence
What kind of impact do you want to make in this world? Most of us desire to do something that matters, something important. I believe that people are more important than anything else on this earth. So impacting the lives of other people is one of the most significant things any one of us can do.
How can we positively impact the life of another person? Through encouragement! I believe it is one of the greatest gifts you or I can give someone else. These are some of my favorite quotes on the topic. I hope they inspire you to make a difference in the life of someone else this week.
“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.” ~Zig Ziglar
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Teresa
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.” ~William Arthur Ward
“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” ~Booker T. Washington
“There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else.” ~George M. Adams
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth a greater effort under a spirit of approval then under a spirit of criticism.” ~Charles Schwab
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to him his own.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
“Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“An automobile goes nowhere efficiently unless it has a quick, hot spark to ignite things, to set the cogs of the machine in motion. So I try to make every player on my team feel he’s the spark keeping our machine in motion.” ~Coach Knute Rockne
“How do you identify someone who needs encouragement? That person is breathing.” ~Truett Cathy
“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” ~Dale Carnegie
That’s what I set out to do every day with my blog and social media. It’s why I speak to thousands of people every year. It’s my reason for writing every one of my books. There is nothing I enjoy more than adding value to people – through my communication, giving them something they can take away and use to grow and make a difference.
My organizations are built around this idea, too. And one that’s doing a lot to add value in the world is my nonprofit, EQUIP. Earlier this month, I traveled to Guatemala with EQUIP to launch a new emphasis on Global Transformation. The trip was amazing, with thousands of leaders, pastors, influencers, and activists hearing this message of Transformational Leadership.
This week, EQUIP is launching the world’s biggest relay to continue this emphasis on global transformation, one country, one community, at a time. The EQUIP World Relay™ is starting by calling attention to the needs and opportunities for transformation that exist in the country of Guatemala. So beginning March 4, for 100 days, we will walk from Atlanta, Georgia, to Guatemala City, Guatemala.
- Bring together 5 million prayer partners.
- Raise $1,000,000 for global transformation.
- Equip and train leaders in the 7 key streams of influence in any society (Business, Government, Education, Media, Entertainment, Church and Family)
- Highlight Guatemala and the work being done there by influential leaders
- Rally communities everywhere to join us in the EQUIP World Relay™
If you would like to learn more about this wonderful effort, please click below. I’m excited about the ways the EQUIP World Relay™ will add value to an entire nation and launch an initiative for Global Transformation among leaders worldwide.
Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Obviously, that isn’t an option for anyone who wants to be successful as a leader.
Good leaders are active, and their actions often put them out front. That often draws criticism. When spectators watch a race, where do they focus their attention? On the front-runners! People watch their every action—and often criticize.
Since criticism is a part of leadership, you need to learn how to handle it constructively. The following has helped me to deal with criticism, so I pass it on to you.
Do you really know yourself? Are you aware of your weaknesses as well as your strengths? Where do you fall short as a person and leader? Not sure what your weaknesses are? Ask five trustworthy people close to you. They’ll be able to tell you where you come up short.
Know the criticism – and the critics.
When you receive criticism, how do you tell if it’s constructive or destructive? (Some say constructive criticism is when I criticize you, but destructive criticism is when you criticize me!) Here are the questions I ask to get to determine what kind of criticism it is:
- Who criticized me? Adverse criticism from a wise person is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. The source often matters.
- How was it given? I try to discern whether the person was being judgmental or whether he gave me the benefit of the doubt and spoke with kindness.
- Why was it given? Was it given out of a personal hurt or for my benefit? Hurting people hurt people; they lash out or criticize to try to make themselves feel better, not to help the other person.
Stay open to change.
Let’s assume you now know yourself pretty well. You can tell when a criticism is way off-base; maybe it’s directed more at your position than at you. And you know when a criticism is 100% legitimate because it’s about a weakness that you’ve already discovered.
But what about the gray areas? The criticisms that might hold a grain of truth? A good leader stays open to improvement by:
- Not being defensive,
- Looking for the helpful grain of truth,
- Making the necessary changes, and
- Taking the high road.
Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine, had many critics in spite of his incredible contribution to medicine. Of criticism, he observed, “First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and that what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time.”
How do leaders who are out front handle this kind of fickle response from others?
The Serenity Prayer, made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, gives direction in this area:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
If you have endeavored to know yourself, and have worked hard to change yourself, then what more can you do?
The final step in the process of effectively handling criticism is to stop focusing on yourself. Secure people forget about themselves so they can focus on others. By doing this, they can face nearly any kind of criticism—and even serve the critic.
I try to live out a sentiment expressed by Parkenham Beatty, who advised, “By your own soul learn to live. And if men thwart you, take no heed. If men hate you, have no care: Sing your song, dream your dream, hope your hope and pray your prayer.”
As leaders, we must always be serious about our responsibilities, but it isn’t healthy for us to take ourselves too seriously. A Chinese proverb says, “Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves. They shall never cease to be entertained.”
My friend Joyce Meyer observes, “God will help you be all you can be, but He will never let you be successful at becoming someone else.” We can’t do more than try to be all that we can be. If we do that as leaders, we will give others our best, and we will sometimes takes hits from others. But that’s okay. That is the price for being out front.
Originally posted at John Maxwell on Leadership on June 15, 2010
By far the greatest obstacle to success that I see in others is a poor understanding of people. A while back the Wall Street Journal published an article on the reasons that executives fail. At the top of the list was a person’s inability to effectively relate to others.
One day I was talking to someone who was complaining about not winning a business contract that he had bid on. “It wasn’t fair,” he told me. “All the people involved knew each other, and we didn’t have a chance. It’s all politics.” But then what he went on to describe wasn’t politics. It was relationships.
Authors Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb indicate that people who fail on the job commonly cite “office politics” as the reason for their failures, but the reality is that what they call politics is often nothing more than regular interaction with other people.
If you haven’t learned how to get along with people, you will always be fighting a battle to succeed. On the other hand, making people skills a strength will take you farther than any other skill you develop. People like to do business with people they like. Or to put it the way President Theodore Roosevelt did: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top” associated with leadership. But is isolated leadership really effective? I don’t think so. In fact, I believe that, “He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk.” If you’re all alone as a leader, are you really leading?
Losing touch with your people is a huge leadership landmine. It will damage your credibility and destroy your influence. How do you avoid losing touch?
- Recognize the landmine. Unfortunately, losing touch is an easy thing to do. A leader can be tempted to withdraw by both success (“I don’t need to see my people”) and failure (“I don’t want to see my people”). Understanding that it can happen is the first step to avoiding it.
- Value people. All leadership is influence. And what is influence if it doesn’t involve other people? No matter what your organization produces or does, it needs people to function. YOU need people to lead. Leadership becomes effective when you acknowledge that people are your most appreciable asset, and treat them accordingly.
- Avoid positional thinking. Your position or title shouldn’t define your leadership. That’s positional thinking, and it will cause you to disconnect as a leader. Again, leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. I make it my goal to see the people I lead as teammates, not employees. We work together toward a common goal.
- Love the people you lead. Do you see your people as cogs in the machinery of your organization, and yourself as the operator? They can tell if you don’t care about them. And I’ve said for a long time that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Loving your people makes the difference in their willingness to follow you into anything, no matter how hard the battle.
- Understand the Law of Significance. This is from my book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In it, I explain that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. Many years ago, I realized that I needed the help of other people to achieve what I felt called to do. I now believe that any dream worth dreaming will be bigger than the dreamer. If you can achieve your dream by yourself, your dream is too small!
The most effective leaders stay connected to their people. This gives them the greatest amount of influence, and allows the leader and the team to achieve their big-picture goals together.
What about you? If you’re in a position of leadership, are your followers close at hand? Or have you allowed yourself to lose touch?