As a leader, you’re already aware that your ability to positively influence another person is the central component of your leadership. So you understand that influence matters to leaders.
But how do you measure your influence? By the number of people who work for you? By the number of followers you have on Twitter? By the number of likes you get on Facebook?
While there is some validity to those numbers, chances are that you’re missing something if you measure influence only in that way. Because there are dozens of people – perhaps even hundreds – that you influence without ever knowing it. They help you bag your groceries. They pick up your trash. They might deliver your mail, or drive next to you on the road. They pass you in the halls at your child’s school, or ride the elevator with you on the way to the office.
And these possibly unnoticed individuals are impacted by you in ways you may never know.
One of my favorite quotes on influence comes from J.R. Miller. In fact, I use it in the first chapter of my book, Developing the Leader Within You: “There have been meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for life, for eternity. No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence…yet…every one of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain other lives.”
I love that line: meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for life, for eternity.
Have you ever taken time to think about your life in that way? You impact people on a daily basis by how you choose to live.
Your life is influence in motion.
I understand that anyone can have a bad day. It happens to all of us. But how many bad days might you cut out of a year if you recognized that you have the ability to make a difference to everyone you meet?
Your capacity to transform someone’s life every day is rooted in your choice to make a positive impact, even in the most fleeting of moments. When you make it your mission as a leader to value people and add value to them, you are planting the seeds for a harvest of positive change.
So how do you get started?
I recommend you begin with your family. Get up early and make the coffee. Prepare lunch for the kids. Pray over your spouse. Set the tone for them to influence others in a positive way, and you’ll be amazed at just how different the stories around the dinner table will be.
And then imagine what would happen if you expanded that positive influence from there. Imagine if you practiced courtesy during rush hour or were grateful to everyone who served you a meal. Imagine if you held doors, shared credit, and otherwise added value as often as you could, to every person you met. Your level of influence would be off the charts.
At a time when some leaders seem only to care about those who are “for” them, we need leaders who care about everyone. We need leaders who make valuing others a priority instead of a promise. We need leaders who make others better instead of bitter. Our society needs leaders who take special care to consider the unnoticed follower.
In short, we need leaders like you.
You can change the world if you choose to – and I believe you will.