But I am not a Leader…

Today we hear the term “influencer”, but what does that mean? In the world of social media, it means that these people have enough followers that they have to power to affect purchasing decisions. We have had influencers in society for decades, before social media they were and still are actors, singers, and athletes, any public person who endorses products.

Have you ever said to yourself “I am not a leader”? “I am not a manager/supervisor”. “I am low man on the corporate totem pole, how can I influence others?” I know I do that often; I don’t see myself as a leader. The difference between being a manager and a leader, is a manager assigns tasks, and a leader inspires others.

Too often we sell ourselves short on the impact we have on others. We all can influence others by acts of kindness, kind words, and example. We are all trying to balance work, family, time with friends, and serving in our communities along with many other demands of life.

When you make an impact in another person’s life with something that you have said or done that inspires, then you are an influencer. Often you may never be told what you said or did that influence someone. For example, after relocating to a new state, I started to get out and meet other single parents, I was spending some time with one individual. We were discussing self-reliance and preparedness.  The conversation turned to holding onto things that we think we ‘might need someday’. I said to this person that when it comes to self-reliance and food storage, less is more. A few weeks later this person told me that what I had said had got them thinking and inspired them to declutter. I remember thinking, wow I did that?  For those who don’t build a food storage, the key is to have a minimum of 3-month food supply, in case of job loss or natural disaster. There is a fine line between food storage and hoarding. You need enough to sustain you and your family but you also need to be able to rotate through the food so that you don’t have so much that you end up with expired items that have to be thrown out anyway. Going back to my friend, the conversation was casual and when I walked away that day, I had no idea the impact one comment had on them until later. I was grateful that they had the courage to tell me about the impact that comment had on them. It opened my eyes that we do not know how what we say and do will inspire others.

As in my example, a casual conversation provided a different perspective that makes the other person see things in a new way.  It can be showing kindness to someone who in turn pays that kindness forward. Remember, to be an influencer is to inspire someone, or lift another.

In today’s job market, employers are seeking employees that have a balance of soft skills and technical skills. One of the most valuable soft skills employees can demonstrate is problem-solving and taking the initiative. A Forbes.com article stated, “No matter your role, influence is the key to solving problems and making things happen.”

You are influencing others whenever you make a connection, nurture a relationship, or build your credibility.

Things that influencers do:
  • Positive and Confident people.

Positive people, regardless of the obstacles or challenges that they come across they pick themselves up and keep going. That is not to say that they don’t fail. We have all failed and will fail many more times as we continue through life. It is how we respond and react to the obstacles that set people apart as influencing and leading others. Tony Robbins said that uncertainty, doubt and, fear are the biggest impediments to influencing others.

  • Never Stop Learning.

I met a motivational speaker once who said life was his university. Our experiences, relationships, and how we respond to them shape us into who we are. We can choose to accept things as the status quo, or we can seek learning and continual growth. Read books, attend conferences, learn from mistakes. Remember your growth and learning are your responsibility.

  • Respect others’ opinions.

Active listening is key. Remember to listen to understand. I have a dear friend when we were talking an early morning walk together, we were discussing the unrest in the world today. We had different viewpoints, but the key was we respected one another, listened, and agreed to disagree on our perspectives. Regardless of our personal views, the core of our beliefs was the same, we wanted peace and would love to see every person accept others for who they are as they are.

  • Show empathy and compassion to others.

The greatest leaders have empathy for others. They show compassion and serve others regardless of status or position. Remember serving someone else is a deliberate choice you make.

Ask yourself:

  • How can I best serve people like no one else in the industry?
    • Serving others does not have to be grand gestures. It is the small acts of kindness that often mean the most.
  • What value do I bring?
    • Am I a good listener?
    • Do I problem solve?
  • What is one thing I can do right now to make someone else’s life easier?
    • Ultimately those who influence others is not about their prestige or ego.
You may not be the person that seeks to hold a position of authority and power but we all influence others. We influence, family, friends, coworkers, and customers, and it begins with kindness.
By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director

Glass, A. (2018, October 5). Council post: Five principles to follow if you want to influence others. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/10/05/five-principles-to-follow-if-you-want-to-influence-others/#3cc4a1236e29

Hanson, J. (2019). Agent of influence: How to use spy skills to persuade anyone, sell anything, and build a successful business. HarperCollins.
Robbins, T. (2017, April 6). 10 strategies to make friends & influence people | Tony Robbins. Retrieved from https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ask-tony/how-do-i-influence-people/

Vancruze, R. (2020, March 11). 7 best ways to influence other people. Retrieved from https://vancruzer.com/influence-other-people/