It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to influence a customer, a supervisor, an employee or a relative the process is the same and there are certain requirements if you want to achieve influential success. But first, why do you want to influence others and are your needs grounded in respect, integrity, compassion and/or noble reasons?
During the centuries there have been many people who either desired to influence others or were successful who did nothing but bring harm, disaster, confusion or downright evil to the world to the people they were trying to influence. I don’t need to give you examples as I am sure a few come to mind easily and quickly so the first issue when it comes to influence is – what are your motives and are they in some way beneficial to others?
What is influence –
Position can influence – parents, politicians, clergy, physicians, teachers and attorneys. But just because you may have a certain role or title isn’t a guarantor of influence. Salespeople can have influence getting someone to purchase their product or service. Evil people can have influence grounded in fear, uncertainty or punishment but this doesn’t mean their influence is used for positive motives. Knowledge can have influence but just because you are the smartest person in the room doesn’t mean you are the wisest.
Influence is the ability to get what you want, persuade others or maintain a position of authority. Professional athletes can have influence on others – children, fans or just folks who have a casual interest in sports but this doesn’t mean getting what they want or persuading others to buy a product that they endorse doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for us.
What we need to achieve positive influence are the right motives, intention and ability to share these with integrity.
Telling your kids, just because you are the parent, that they should do this or that or pursue a certain career isn’t necessarily in their long term best interests.
And finally it is having a passion for what you believe. Right now think of someone you know who has tremendous passion for their mission, belief or purpose in life. Do they have passion? Or are they lukewarm?
Why do we lose it –
There are many reasons why a person can lose influence – all you have to do is look back at politicians who have lost credibility because of stupid choices, actions or decisions. Look at Hollywood stars or athletes who have fallen from grace because of ego or arrogance or just plain stupidity.
In the end most people lose the ability to influence others because they believe that their position, title, role or responsibility is all that is required for them to keep it. I beg to differ.
When I stop trusting you, respecting you or believing you or your motives purposes or goals – you lose the ability to influence me.
Why do we need it –
Anything we get or achieve in life is eventually based on our ability to influence others and I’m not talking here about salespeople, CEO’s or patents or teachers – I’m talking about all of us. Whether it’s being treated by others with respect, not waiting on hold for two hours or disarming a conflict these and every other human behavior sooner or later requires a certain degree of influence.
Wealthy people don’t have any more of it than poor people unless they have this perception that their wealth gives them influence. Mother Teresa was poor. Jesus was homeless. I could give you hundreds of example where wealth had nothing to do with influence.
Smart people don’t have any more influence than people with common sense.
Why do we need influence? Simple – to get what we want whether it’s others behavior or actions or something that adds to our personal worth or value as a human being or the overall benefit of others or mankind.
How do we maintain it –
I have already answered this question but in case you missed it – let me repeat – we maintain influence by; having moral and noble motives, maintaining integrity of our actions and decisions, behaving in a way that increases the trust of others, acting with understanding, compassion and treating others with respect not because of who they are but because of who we are and improving our ability to communicate with clarity, consistency and honesty.