9 Tips Grow Your Circle of Influence and Be a Better Leader

The Difference Between a Leader’s and Manager’s Circle of Influence

Both managers and leaders have a circle of influence. The difference between a manager’s and a leader’s circle of influence is free will. Managers influence others by instilling fear. Typically subordinates listen to a manager because they fear losing their job or even worse they are physically afraid of the boss. The leader has a circle of influence because people want to follow them. Being an influencer and attracting followers, makes for a more productive and happier work environment for employees. When people choose to follow you they will work much harder and more efficiently.

See my previous post about the difference between managing and leading people for more information.

How do you know if you have a circle of influence?

Do you have people come to you for personal or career advice? Do people look to you or wait to see what you’re going to do when there’s a problem? If you answered yes then congratulations, these people are a part of your circle of influence. These employees may not even be under your supervision. They can be peers, subordinates, or even supervisors within a completely different work area. Growing your circle of influence, not only within your work area but also in other areas is important. You never know when having influence in another department will be needed. The larger your circle, the more you can accomplish.

What is your circle of control and how does it interface with your circle of influence?

Image of a figure winding up another figure representing circle of control and circle of influence.

A circle of control is things that you can control. To break it down a little further, there are things directly within your control and things that you indirectly control.

Too often we worry too much about things that we have little to no control over. This way of doing business leads to extra stress and quicker burnout. We need to be focusing our efforts on things we control. This means understanding what you control.

For example, you directly control what you wear each day but you indirectly control what your employee does throughout the day. You may tell them to do something but it’s up to them to do what you say. As much as you would sometimes like to, you can’t really force them to do anything.

This is where your circle of influence comes into play. The stronger your influence on your employee, the more likely they are to do what you want them to do. The larger your circle of influence, the bigger your circle of control reaches.

How do you grow your circle of influence as a leader?

Image of hands in a circle representing circle of influence.

See the potential in others and motivate them to achieve it

Being a good leader isn’t just about achieving your own goals, but also about helping others achieve theirs. One of the most important things a leader can do is to see the potential in others and motivate them to achieve it. When you push people to be better than they were before they met you, you’re not only helping them grow, but you’re also building a loyal team.

When you help people achieve things they may not have without you, they are very likely to be there for you when you need them. This is because they know that you have their best interests at heart and that you are invested in their success. When you show that you care about their growth and development, they will reciprocate that care and support.

Pushing people to be better today than they were yesterday pays dividends. These people not only follow you, but they get promotions and build their own following that indirectly follows you. This means that as a leader, you not only have a team that is loyal and dedicated to your vision, but you also have a network of people who are invested in your success. This network can help you achieve your goals and reach new heights.

In summary, being a good leader means recognizing the potential in others and motivating them to achieve it. By helping people grow and develop, you build a loyal team that will be there for you when you need them. Pushing people to be better today than they were yesterday pays dividends, as it not only benefits them but also indirectly benefits you as a leader. So, invest in your team and watch them flourish.

Be honest with those around you

Honesty is one of the most important qualities that a leader can possess. Without honesty, trust cannot be built, and relationships will suffer. As a leader, it is essential to be honest with those around you, even when it’s difficult. This means being upfront about your expectations, your challenges, and your mistakes.

A lack of trust can really damage relationships and take away from all the hard work you’ve done. Trust is the foundation of any successful team. Without trust, team members may hesitate to share their ideas or concerns, and productivity and morale can suffer. By being honest with those around you, you build trust and create a safe environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions.

One aspect of honesty that is often overlooked is calling somebody out when they are messing up. As a leader, it can be tempting to avoid confrontation and hope that problems will resolve themselves. However, this approach can do more harm than good. When someone on your team is not performing to the best of their ability, it is your responsibility to address the issue and offer support to help them improve.

I can’t count the times I’ve had people thank me for letting them know they were messing up and giving them the opportunity to fix it. What may be obvious to us may not be obvious to everybody. By calling out mistakes or areas for improvement, you give team members the chance to learn and grow. This not only benefits the individual but also the team as a whole.

In conclusion, honesty is crucial for any leader looking to build trust and foster a productive team. It’s important to be upfront about your expectations, challenges, and mistakes. Additionally, calling out mistakes or areas for improvement can be a positive thing, as it gives team members the chance to learn and grow. So, be honest with those around you and watch your team flourish.

Build relationships

As a leader, it is important to build relationships with your employees. While you don’t have to become best friends with all of them, taking the time to get to know each person on your team can have a significant impact on their performance and overall job satisfaction.

Getting to know your people can really help you understand what makes them tick and shows them that you care about them. By taking an interest in your team members, you can better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. This can help you tailor your leadership approach to each individual, which can lead to better performance and job satisfaction.

Your employees are more than just bodies there to do a job. They are people with feelings and emotions. By building relationships with your team members, you show them that you value them as individuals, not just for what they can do for the company. This can help foster a sense of loyalty and commitment to the team and the company.

Building relationships with your team members can also lead to better communication and collaboration. When people feel comfortable with their leaders, they are more likely to speak up and share their ideas and concerns. This can lead to more robust discussions and better decision-making.

In conclusion, building relationships with your employees is an important part of being a good leader. By taking an interest in your team members, you can better understand what motivates them and tailor your leadership approach to each individual. This can lead to better performance, job satisfaction, and collaboration. Remember, your employees are more than just bodies there to do a job. They are people with feelings and emotions, and building relationships with them can help you create a loyal and committed team.

Remind your people of their importance

As a leader, it’s important to remind your people of their importance. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated, and this is especially true in the workplace. When people feel that their contributions are recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.

One way to remind your people of their importance is by acknowledging their achievements and giving them positive feedback. This can be as simple as telling somebody how good of a job they did on a project or recognizing their efforts in a team meeting. Small gestures like these can go a long way in boosting morale, production, and retainability.

Another way to remind your people of their importance is by involving them in decision-making processes. When people feel that their opinions and ideas are valued, they are more likely to feel invested in the success of the team and the company. This can lead to greater collaboration and innovation, as team members feel empowered to share their thoughts and ideas.

It’s also important to recognize and reward outstanding performance. This could be through bonuses or promotions, but it can also be something as simple as a thank-you note or a public acknowledgment of their efforts. Recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance not only boosts morale but also encourages others to strive for excellence.

In conclusion, reminding your people of their importance is an important part of being a good leader. Acknowledging their achievements, involving them in decision-making, and recognizing outstanding performance are all ways to make your team members feel valued and appreciated. Small gestures can go a long way in boosting morale, production, and retainability, so don’t underestimate the power of positive feedback and recognition. By making your team members feel important, you can create a motivated and engaged team that is committed to the success of the company.

Be sincere

Being sincere is an important aspect of building strong relationships with your team members. People can easily tell when you are not being genuine, and insincere comments can actually do more harm than good. Therefore, it’s important to be honest and authentic in your interactions with your employees.

One way to be sincere is to focus on the positives that each person brings to the table. Every individual has their own unique strengths and talents, and as a leader, it’s your job to recognize and acknowledge them. However, it’s important to avoid making things up or exaggerating someone’s abilities. This can come across as inauthentic and may actually undermine the trust and respect that you have worked so hard to build.

Another way to be sincere is to avoid making empty promises or commitments that you cannot fulfill. It’s important to follow through on your promises and be transparent about any limitations or challenges that may arise. This can help you build credibility and trust with your team members, which is essential for effective leadership.

Along with being sincere in your words, it’s also important to be sincere in your actions. This means leading by example and modeling the behaviors and values that you want to see in your team members. When you demonstrate sincerity and authenticity, you set the tone for a culture of trust and respect within your team.

In conclusion, being sincere is an important aspect of effective leadership. By focusing on the positives and avoiding exaggeration, following through on promises, and leading by example, you can build trust and respect with your team members. Remember that people can tell when you are not being genuine, so it’s important, to be honest, and authentic in your interactions. By doing so, you can create a positive and productive work environment that inspires your team members to do their best work.

Be respectful of others

Being respectful of others is a crucial component of effective leadership. As the saying goes, if you can’t show respect, you won’t get respect. As a leader, it’s important to earn the respect of your team members, not just because of the position you hold, but because of who you are as a person.

One way to show respect is to always carry yourself in a positive and professional manner. This means avoiding getting too emotional or losing your temper, even in stressful or challenging situations. When you remain calm and composed, you demonstrate that you are in control and that you respect the people around you.

Another way to show respect is to be a technical expert in a certain area. When you have a deep understanding of a particular aspect of your business, you can provide valuable insight and guidance to your team members. This can help to build their respect for you, as they see that you have deep knowledge and expertise in your field.

Additionally, it’s important to learn how your employees do what they do. This can help you to better understand their work and appreciate the challenges and opportunities that they face on a daily basis. By taking the time to learn from your team members, you demonstrate that you respect their contributions and that you value their opinions and perspectives.

In conclusion, being respectful of others is a fundamental aspect of effective leadership. By carrying yourself in a positive and professional manner, being a technical expert in your field, and learning from your team members, you can earn their respect and build a strong and productive team. Remember, respect is something that must be earned, and as a leader, it’s your responsibility to set the tone for a culture of mutual respect and appreciation within your organization.

Be a servant

Being a servant leader is a powerful approach to leadership that emphasizes the importance of serving others. It doesn’t mean that you should do everything that everybody tells you to do, but rather that you should do what people need you to do in order to make the job easier and more efficient for your employees.

One important aspect of being a servant leader is listening to the needs of your team members. This means taking the time to understand their concerns, challenges, and goals, and then doing your best to address them. When you listen actively and empathetically to your employees, you demonstrate that you value their opinions and perspectives and that you are committed to supporting them in their work.

Another key aspect of being a servant leader is working for your team members. This means putting their needs and interests ahead of your own and doing everything in your power to ensure that they have the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. Some of the best bosses I’ve ever had were those who worked for us, not the other way around. They were always looking for ways to make our jobs easier and more efficient, and they were always willing to lend a helping hand when we needed it.

Being a servant leader also means empowering your team members to take ownership of their work and make decisions for themselves. When you give your employees the autonomy and freedom to make their own choices, you demonstrate that you trust and respect them and that you believe in their abilities.

In conclusion, being a servant leader is a powerful approach to leadership that emphasizes the importance of serving others. By listening to your team members, working for them, and empowering them to make decisions for themselves, you can build a strong and productive team that is committed to achieving its goals. Remember, as a leader, your job is not to control or micromanage your employees, but to support and serve them to the best of your abilities.

Motivate others

Motivating others is one of the key responsibilities of a leader. When you are able to inspire and energize your team members, you can help them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. One important step in motivating others is to find out what drives and motivates them.

Different people are motivated by different things. For some, it may be awards, recognition, or public praise. For others, it may be financial incentives, like bonuses or raises. Still, others may be motivated by the prospect of more time off or flexible working hours. As a leader, it’s your job to find out what motivates each member of your team and use that knowledge to help them reach their potential.

One way to motivate your team members is to offer rewards or incentives that align with their motivations. For example, if an employee is motivated by time off, you could offer them an extra day of leave if they complete a particularly challenging task. If another employee is motivated by public recognition, you could publicly praise them for their accomplishments in a team meeting or company newsletter.

Another way to motivate your team members is to create a sense of purpose and meaning around their work. When employees feel that their work is important and has a real impact, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged. As a leader, it’s important to communicate the company’s mission and values and to help employees understand how their work contributes to these larger goals.

In conclusion, motivating others is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. By understanding what motivates each member of your team and using that knowledge to inspire and energize them, you can help them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Remember, different people are motivated by different things, so it’s important to tailor your approach to each individual. With the right motivation and support, your team members can achieve great things and make a real difference in your organization.

Lead with character

Leading with character is an essential trait that distinguishes great leaders from mediocre ones. Leaders with character are those who consistently make the right decisions, even when they are not the most popular or convenient ones. They act with integrity, honesty, and ethics, and their actions are guided by a strong moral compass.

One of the key aspects of leading with character is doing what’s right even when nobody’s looking. This means that you consistently act with integrity and honesty, even when there’s no one around to hold you accountable. Doing the right thing when nobody’s looking builds trust and credibility with your team members, and it sets an example for them to follow.

Leaders who lead with character also understand that their actions speak louder than their words. They know that they need to set the tone for their team members, and they lead by example. If you expect your employees to work hard and be accountable, you need to demonstrate those same qualities yourself. For example, if you tell your team members not to leave early and claim full time, you need to make sure that you are not doing that yourself.

Another important aspect of leading with character is being willing to make tough decisions, even when they are not popular. This means that you need to be willing to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means going against the grain. When you make decisions based on your values and principles, you build trust and respect with your team members, and they are more likely to follow your lead.

In conclusion, leading with character is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. It means doing what’s right, even when it’s not the most popular or convenient decision. It means acting with integrity and honesty, even when nobody’s looking. And it means leading by example, and setting a tone that your team members can follow. When you lead with character, you build trust, respect, and credibility with your team members, and you create a culture of accountability and excellence.

In Conclusion

Growing your circle of influence is important for many reasons. Everyone needs others at some point in time. You never know when or what you will need from somebody else. The more people in your circle of influence the easier it is to get things done. Everybody has something to offer and having them in your circle of influence can help make both of you stronger. Connecting with others should be beneficial for all parties involved.

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