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“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.” If the writer Beatrix Potter is mostly known for her children’s books, the lessons she conveyed in her work are universal .

In previous articles we have already discussed at length the necessary requirements for today’s leaders – from being digitally literate to the need for a new approach in management. You might think that by now, we’d have covered it all . If so, think again! There is still one issue we have yet to grapple, especially considering its growing importance in today’s world: Influence.

In our globalized world, business networks have grown and intensified. Company talent is coming from all over, ideas are blooming by the second and the question is: how can you assert yourself within your team, your company, your industry in such an interactive market? Here are a few tips for you to start the year with ease and extend your influence.

Adopting the appearance of confidence

The first things that comes to mind when thinking about influence are speech and networking. Both require certain skills that are hard to pinpoint when they don’t come naturally. Here are some tips as to how one can better their networking and speech ability:

  • Talking with assurance has always had the benefit of reinforcing team cohesion. To do so, it is important to control what you say (back your claims and know what you’re talking about), how you say it (articulated but not patronizing) and of course to recognize when you don’t know something.
  • Capturing your audience’s attention, depends on more than intelligence. The trick is to not only possess the technical knowledge but also establish why your subject is interesting. In short: make it interesting, be passionate, be an individual, tell a story.
  • Networking is also a necessary skill today, one that many of us never entirely master. To properly network, you need to be interested in the person in front of you. Instead of talking about yourself, ask people about themselves. Make your interaction personal and most of all, show them that you care.

One of the things that affects influence when we network is self-confidence. Warren Cass, CEO of Business Scene Membership Ltd., specializes  in management consulting. His work has led him to associate with many of the top leaders in the UK, and to acquire a fascinating insight into their personalities. One of the things he realized was that many of them suffered from the impostor syndrome. Moreover,f asked about their abilities, they would often respond by asserting one thing: they were not as good as others thought. Even with the results to prove it, these leaders would maintain that they were not as brilliant as they were believed to be. This story tells us one thing: everyone lacks self-confidence, a proven factor that hinders production and well-being in the workplace. Getting rid of the negative effects of the impostor syndrome is also a first step towards a healthier leadership.

Always thinking ahead

In the context of today’s world, just as companies need to control their online image, so do people. Your online footprint can influence everything from your present credibility to your future ability to achieve something. Because if influence is a key factor of leadership, credibility is one of influence. Without people believing in you and what you are doing, in your capacity and sanity, there is no leadership and there is no future to your project. There are many ways to increase your credibility – including those mentioned before – but one is often omitted, most probably by fear of overt bluntness: association. By associating with mentors and leading figures of your industry, you gain the trust of those who also admire these people. Your association with them can also cause you to become youa leading figure.

And if we are talking about leadership skills, it is for one reason: success. Effective leadership results in higher likelihood of success. In fact, by having an opportunistic mindset and keeping goals in mind every single day, leaders are more aware of what opportunities are waiting for them to grasp. Of course, good leadership is also accepting defeat. Failure is always a possibility. And while experiencing a setback is hard, it is one of the most fruitful experiences we can have.  Nevertheless, you can never know before taking the shot. So, remind yourself daily of your objectives and try to keep in mind that no matter what happens, the possible return of taking a risk outweighs the risk of doing nothing

 

Leading ultimately means going somewhere. There would be no point to this advice if not for progress, growth and a healthier workplace to go to everyday. Of course, structural change can improve leadership, but the leader themselves must be able to recognize and promote  the skills of a confident team member because that is what  drive their company towards a better future. As the old adage goes: “When there is no vision, the people perish”.