How to Become a Person of Influence

A few years ago I worked with a large Hospital System in California. They teach their staff a tool called the “10 – 5 Rule.” It instructs all staff that if they see a member or guest coming toward them in the corridor of one of their facilities, they should acknowledge that person with eye contact and a smile once they come within 10 feet of them. When they reach the 5 foot line, staff are taught to verbally greet the person. This practice is intended to help people feel welcome and generally better about being in a medical facility where most people are not having their best day. I put that rule into practice while working there as well. It was amazing to see the results. When you smile at people, they most often smile back. Sometimes, it was a little scary. The person walking toward me didn’t make eye contact and looked very serious. But over 90% of the time, when I said, “Hello,” their entire face changed. They smiled (sometimes looked surprised) and said, “Hello” back.

That’s Influence

Influence is defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something,” It can be in the moment like when you make someone smile in the hallway. Or it can be over a lifetime with your family, friends, co-workers or an even larger set of people. It can be formal. It can be informal. It can be a part of your position or just a part of who you are. The fact is, we are all people of influence on some level.

We are constantly influencing people. In fact, one study shows the average person will influence 80,000 people during their lifetime. That’s a lot of people. But, when we talk about becoming a person of influence, we’re not talking about the influence of the average person. That happens regardless of your intention or even your knowledge sometimes. A “Person of Influence” is someone who intentionally uses their influence to add value to others, to make their lives better.

World renown Leadership Teacher and Author, John Maxwell, says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” So, whether you are in a recognized leadership position of some kind or not, being a person of influence makes you a leader. Some of the most influential people I know are not “Leaders” in their job title. They’re Moms and Dads, Administrative Assistants, Teachers, Friends, etc. But, because of their influence, they are leaders.

How To Increase Your Influence

There are 10 things you can focus on to increase your intentional influence. Here are three of them.

Influence begins with Integrity. If you want to increase your influence, start there. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,

“In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a sections gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

The next focus of Influence is Nurture. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Authentically caring about others will increase your influence with them.

The third focus of Influence is Faith. One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is to express belief in them when they don’t believe in themselves. Can you imagine being on a team where the coach didn’t believe in you? Your influence with people will increase when you believe in them.

Let’s focus on these three for now and I’ll share a few more in the next post.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, or this is your first time, please give me some feedback on whether or not this is helpful to you. Thanks!

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