Leadership and Influence
The ripple effect is a great visual understanding of leadership and influence throughout an organization. Like most of you, I have dropped a stone into a body of water to see how far the ripples expand out into the water. These ripples form concentric circles and these circles are circles with a common center. I am amazed at how far the ripples reach from just the simple act of dropping a stone. One simple action a leader takes can create a ripple of influence throughout the organization.
Recently, I have been thinking about the ripple effect and leadership influence, and started to ask some questions:
- Are leaders aware of how their actions impact others?
- What actions and behaviors are leaders doing that positively or negatively impact their organization?
- Besides the leader’s direct reports, who else are they impacting and influencing within their organization? Outside their organization
- How do my actions ripple and influence throughout the organization and outside it?
- How is the leader impacting stakeholders?
Determining Leadership and Influence: A Three-Step Process
What can you do to understand leadership and influence on not only those you work closely with but others, too?
- Ask and get feedback from others on how your actions are impacting them. Ask them to be specific about what behaviors and actions they are noticing? Find out if they think you are aware of your actions and behaviors and how they impact others. If you are not self-aware, I suggest taking an emotional intelligence assessment to determine your self-awareness capabilities. High self-awareness is critical to successful leadership. You can either do this yourself or get help from internal coaching or human resources. You can also work with an outside executive coach who can conduct qualitative interviews and provide an assessment that measures emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
- Create an influence map. Place your name in the center and start to write down the names of individuals or groups that you directly influence. Work your way out and ask yourself who you influence indirectly. Most of us don’t think about who we are impacting and influencing besides our boss and direct reports. What about outside the organization? Are their customers, board members, and regulators that my actions influence? You will be amazed at your reach of influence. Take some time and really give this some thought.
- Share your results of steps 1 and 2 with your boss and direct reports. Ask them to give you feedback and create a development plan on how to move forward. Identify the skills and competencies you want to work on and why, what success will look like, what specific actions you can do to develop, when do you want to complete these actions, and finally, how do you want to measure your success?
The Impact Of The Three-Step Process
Leadership coaches often use this 3-step process of understanding leadership and influence very effectively. Typically, the leaders these coaches interact with are not self-aware of how their actions were impacting others. Naturally, team turnover within their group was high and they are never clear on why. From qualitative interviews with the leader’s boss, peers, and direct reports and the results from an emotional intelligence assessment, it was clear these leaders lacked self-awareness and how their behaviors and actions were affecting others throughout their department or organization.
Additionally, these leaders were not clearly aware of who they were impacting and influencing within and outside of the organization. When these leaders created an influence map it brought focus and realization on how their actions were influencing the organization and to outsiders as well.
It can take some time to achieve progress for more effective interaction and positive results. However, when leaders become more keenly aware of who they are influencing, the changes positively impact the entire organization. Awareness of a leader’s influence can lead to better habits and improved engagement for everyone.
Leader’s behaviors and actions have an influence throughout the organization and outside of it as well. Your leaders need to adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. As leaders, we need to be more self-aware of our behaviors; how they impact others; and who within and outside the organization are being influenced by you.
What kind of influence are you having on your organization?