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Executive Podcast #211: Twelve Choices Leaders Make to Fuel Their Influence

October 27, 2022
Executive Podcast #211: Twelve Choices Leaders Make to Fuel Their Influence

When we teach that leadership is influence––nothing more, nothing less––this generates questions from those trying to grow as leaders. They often ask, “How do you grow your influence?”

People are watching your actions, reactions, interactions, and behaviors. Every follower is trying to determine if they want to give you PERMISSION to influence or lead them. This is Level 2 of the 5 Levels.

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Download our Learning Guide for this podcast!

Perry Holley:

Welcome to the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:

I’m Chris Goede, the Executive Vice President with Maxwell Leadership. Welcome, and thank you for joining, and I really do mean that. We really appreciate …

Perry Holley:

Really.

Chris Goede:

… The listeners, and the amount of comments that we get, not only on the maxwellleadership.com/podcast, which is a great way for you to make a comment, a question, or forum, but when we’re traveling, and when we’re in rooms with teams, and how they use it as even just a personal growth development, which I love. We were just recently, several weeks ago, at a Maxwell conference, Maxwell Leadership Conference, and man, that was so rewarding for you and I.

Perry Holley:

You looked like a real celebrity. You had people lined up.

Chris Goede:

Whatever.

Perry Holley:

Well, did you sign an autograph?

Chris Goede:

How many people said, “I hear that voice? That’s Perry Holley.”

Perry Holley:

He doesn’t sound that tall.

Chris Goede:

Yeah, that’s right. We’re both fairly tall and so walking around together we’re like, we didn’t …

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

We’re sitting down. We just want to say thank you, because it’s so encouraging and we’re just sharing what we’re learning. We’re sharing what we’re helping leaders with around the world, so thank you for listening to us.

Well, today’s topic is 12 Choices Leaders Make to Fuel Their Influence. Talk about increasing influence, we’re going to give you some things that you make choices maybe even on a daily basis, and you’re not even aware of it, that will increase or fuel your influence. We talk about that leadership is influence. We interchange the words all the time here at Maxwell Leadership. What we wanted to do is generate some thoughts, some discussion around how do you grow this? What does it look like with some of these simple terms? You create a chart, which you can download it in the learners’ guide, and we’re going to go through this and banter them back and forth.

Perry Holley:

I think that’d be a good way to do it. You used the word simple. It is simple. These are not rocket science, but it’s so amazing to me when I get into discussions with people. I actually will tell people, we’ve said it here many, many times. I say that, “People are watching you all the time,” and people always agree, 100% they agree. Then I’ll say, “But what are they watching for?” Now do you remember the answer to that? What are they watching for?

Chris Goede:

Where I’m going to lunch?

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

Chris Goede:

No, I think about how you’re leading, your actions, how you’re reacting. Reaction, that’s another.

Perry Holley:

Oh, that’s huge.

Chris Goede:

Oh man, we could talk about that for a while. As a leader, how you’re interacting. What your behavior is. Really, when it comes down to it, I tell a lot of people, we’re really in the behavioral change business. We start with ourselves first, continuing to work on our own behaviors, but then helping leaders and cultures develop their leaders. It also goes back to the definition that we get from Greg Cagle with the culture piece, which is, how are you thinking, acting and interacting as a leader?

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Perry Holley:

That’s good.

Chris Goede:

That’s what they’re watching for.

Perry Holley:

I love that. Although I do, when I ask that in large meetings, always someone says, “They’re watching for you to mess up.” Okay. No. There may be that odd individual that would like for you to mess up, but for the most part, people don’t want you as their leader to mess up. They want you to succeed because when you succeed, they succeed. I think they’re watching you for your actions, your reactions, your interactions, and your behaviors. Why are they watching for this? What are they doing with that information?

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Remember, in order to increase your influence with people, you don’t get to determine what level of influence you have with them. They get to determine. You don’t walk into a room and say, “I have level four influence with Perry Holley.” That’s not how it works. How it works is that Perry would say, “Hey, Chris has level four influence with me.” When you think about it that way, what they’re watching for is really, as a leader, is how do we get from level one influence as a titled leader to them, to level two where they’re giving you permission? Well, they’re not going to give you permission to lead them or influence them until they watch your behaviors, before they watch your actions.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. I’m trying to determine, am I going to let you lead me?

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. So these 12 things.

Chris Goede:

Let’s do it.

Perry Holley:

They’re simple. Maybe we should do a little point counterpoint, which I’m going to give you the easy side. You can take the what I think helps your influence.

Chris Goede:

I did notice it was the easier side, so I appreciate that.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. I give you the helps influence, and I’ll take the could hurt your influence.

Chris Goede:

Okay.

Perry Holley:

Why don’t you go first?

Chris Goede:

Yeah. Well, the first thing we have here is what could actually help your influence, is we have the word ask.

Perry Holley:

Versus?

Chris Goede:

Tell.

Perry Holley:

Tell.

Chris Goede:

Right. Ask, for us would be, are you really curious? Increasing your influence, you’ve got to ask questions. Good leaders ask great questions. You have to do that in order to be curious. When you’re curious, and you’re asking people questions, and you want to know their point of view, then it’s going to increase your influence, it’s going to help you.

Perry Holley:

Then, if I take the tell side of that is I’m going to tell people what to do. I’m going to, I’m leaning on that level one influence again. I’m the smartest one in the room. I have all the answers. I like influence building with ask says that you’re involving me in the decision. Tell says it’s all about me, and it becomes almost like a dictator. It really causes people, we mentioned in a previous podcast about salute and stay mute, just do what you’re told, which then reduces engagement is not a winning formula. I definitely want to be on the ask side.

Chris Goede:

Yeah, I love that. Second one we have for you is focus versus distracted.

Perry Holley:

Yes.

Chris Goede:

For me, when I think about how you increase your influence, when we use the word focus, it’s really about do your people feel like when you’re having a conversation with them, or you’re in a meeting with them, that this is the most important thing that you could be working on or talking about at that moment, no matter what it is, or are you distracted like you talked about? In order to increase your influence, you need to be focused on the team, the individuals, the conversation, the meeting, the people.

I’ll never forget, I was visiting a client of ours and this individual that was in this organization, I would have purely, I would have level one influence with him. He has level one influence with me. We don’t really know each other that well. We know our titles and the different organizations. I’ll never forget, I walked into his office, really for maybe the first or second time that we met. He was working on his laptop and he saw me walk in, he shut his laptop, stood up, shook my hand, and then we had a 25 minute conversation. I was the most important thing. I thought, I left there I go, “Man, absolutely … Your influence has grown with me because of the way that you interacted and focused on me.”

Perry Holley:

Yeah, versus being distracted if he’d have left his laptop open, his phone’s on the desk, he’s looking around, checking on text messages, reading stuff while he is appearing to try and talk to you. Are you influenced by that? Are you willing to give that person influence over you to that you’re going to willingly participate with them? I don’t think so. It really speaks, distraction speaks that you don’t value me. When you’re focused and pay attention and you’re present, you value people to do that.

Chris Goede:

Well, the third one, I’m going to let you go first here because I struggle with this a little bit. I want you to talk about the negative side of this.

Perry Holley:

It was neat versus messy. This, I probably could have used different words, but …

Chris Goede:

I like it. Keep it simple.

Perry Holley:

Yeah, but thinking, if you walk in my office and I’m completely disorganized, it leads into unprepared. I don’t know where my things are. I’m searching for things. I’m disheveled, disarray. It could even carry over into my dress and how I appear to people that I’m not put together. It really breeds some concern with people that you don’t have it all together. Now, is this saying you, if you have a messy office, you can’t be an effective leader. No, I’m not saying that at all. I say if you’re trying to gain influence of people, I’m more influenced by people who are organized and put together. Are you a neat freak?

Chris Goede:

No, I’m not. That’s why I want to hear your side of this story first. I think it’s interesting about this. What I was thinking about is that we talk about increasing your influence. In this example that I’m going to give you, it’s really about increasing your influence from level two to level three. To your point, let’s say I’m working for a leader and he has level, or she has level two influence with me, and I go into his or her office and it’s a complete disaster. I start thinking about, “Man, do we really know what our KPIs are? Do we really know where the next project is?” Whatever. I go, “I don’t know.” Now some people that might not bother. You just got to begin thinking about that. I do think also under the neat side, that people do try to model leadership in certain ways and your people will follow at sometimes. I think this is a great way to be able to do that.

Perry Holley:

Yeah.

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Chris Goede:

Number four, we have talk versus yell.

Perry Holley:

I think this one is obviously.

Chris Goede:

Yeah, that’s right. Where, here’s what I thought, when I said this to increase your influence is that people care more about hearing your voice, than it is what you’re saying at times. This really goes back to communication as a leadership competency, that there’s a deficit of this in any organization around the world. They do care about that. Now, they may not necessarily care exactly what you’re saying, but they want to hear the leader’s voice, and the more they hear your voice, I think that’ll increase your influence versus …

Perry Holley:

Yelling or raising your voice.

Chris Goede:

Oh yeah.

Perry Holley:

Losing your temper. Having emotion around this. I’m thinking about what we’ve talked earlier, what are people watching for, your actions? That’s obvious. How about your reactions? How do you handle bad news? How do you handle difficult information, and if you go into to anger or emotional spraying on people your emotions and raising your voice in that sort of thing, it is an instant turnoff for most people, when it comes to influencing me. I’m going to back away, pull back on that. I’m much more influenced by a consistent behavior of you’re managed when it’s good, you’re managed when it’s bad. You talk at a, it’s a respect, it’s a advent of respect toward people is I don’t yell at people.

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

That’s disrespectful. It may seem like a small one, but it’s probably more obvious than some of the others.

Chris Goede:

Well, and I think in the heat of the moment, and when your backs up against the wall, some leaders don’t understand that.

Perry Holley:

Good.

Chris Goede:

I would encourage you to dig into that a little bit.

Well, the fifth one that we’re going to bring to you today is you help your influence by what we call measured, or measuring versus maybe being rushed or reactive in a way. I’ll let you speak to that in just a minute. For me, when I think about the word measured or measuring, it comes with thought. The leader has thought through. It’s a measured approach. The other thing I took it was also measuring results or measuring what the team is doing, or where you’re going, or what you’re leading and what you measure gets done. Everybody wants to be a part of a winning team versus a losing team. The only way to really know if you’re winning versus losing and how to correct and what not to correct is to measure what you’re doing.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. I think what I was going with measured versus rushed is that, and you said it was thoughtful. Are you more precise? Are you rushed? Are you just going from thing to thing to thing? Is it too much for people to keep up? You don’t have a measured approach to things, so if you’re making me feel almost disheveled again and out of sorts, and you’re in such a hurry with things that you don’t, and John would say, “Stop and walk among the crowd.” Be among the people that you’re always rush, rush, rush to do things that it’s problematic.

Chris Goede:

I love it. All right. The next one we’re going to talk about, number six on the chart is on time versus late. For me, this is really about respecting other people. I need to get better at this. I think even the way we calendar things could help you become more on time, so that you’re showing respect and engagement level with other team members.

Perry Holley:

That, I think it speaks for itself, that if you’re late, you’re disrespecting, you’re not being there. Next one says margin versus maxed out. Why are we laughing? Because this is our life that we’re …

Chris Goede:

Yeah.

Perry Holley:

This is actually something we battle with right now.

Chris Goede:

We do. If you haven’t listened to an episode we did several weeks ago around the new, hot buzz around quiet, quitting, I would encourage you to do that. We talked a little bit about this, and there is that we’ve got to do a better job as leaders of modeling margin in our own life, and then also talking about and encouraging your team to have margin in their life. When you do that, I think it increases your influence.

Perry Holley:

When you’re maxed out, you’re just sending a bad message. People don’t, I don’t even want to approach my leader because I don’t want to add something else. They seem like they’re stressed out. They’re going to fall apart. They’re over the top. They’re consumed completely. Yeah. I’ll just keep it to myself now, my level of engagement.

Chris Goede:

Number eight is respond versus react. This for me, when you talk about … Sometimes when people will engage you, voicemail, text, email, this is where I went with this personally and I don’t respond, which happens, then that is nothing favorable with your influence. When you do respond in a way that it just, it’s consistent and increases your influence. Actually just this morning, before we recorded this episode, there was an email where a team member of mine sent that added value to me in some research that I was doing. I had not responded to it, didn’t even acknowledge it, but I was grateful for it. I thought, “Man, I need to respond. I just responded and said, “Thank you. This helped me a ton.” That’s all it takes. The fact that when, and think about what that feels like for us, when we add value to people who are doing something, we get no response. We’re just like, “mm-hmm.”

Perry Holley:

Yeah, and I think about this also from a different approach on that about react. Again, I call it mind the gap between what happened, what someone said. If I go quickly as there’s no gap, then I have a reaction. It’s usually not that good. If I can pause for a moment and have a gap there, I can respond in a more thoughtful way. I actually, where you took it too is that, that’s really a lot of influence building in being responsive to people, maybe you can add that to the list.

The next number nine says consistent versus erratic. Boy, that’s a big one. It goes back to some of the ones we talked about. Relates back to, are you, when you’re triggered, when things go south, when there’s tension in the air, a challenge, are you all over the place or does your emotion and your behavior have a consistency to it?

Chris Goede:

Yeah. I think this, for me, when you increase your influence through consistency, it really comes down to the word approachable. I think when you are approachable, no matter what is going on around you, that increases your influence.

Perry Holley:

I agree.

Chris Goede:

Number 10, the difference here is listener versus talker. For me, our team, our people want to be heard, period. Now we’re not saying hear them, we’re saying listen to them. I say that because I maybe have that being told to me at home sometimes. I think the better listener, we all can become better listeners. I think the better listener we become, the more we’ll increase our influence.

Perry Holley:

Yeah. You talk too much. They don’t trust people that talk all the time.

Chris Goede:

Yeah, too many words.

Perry Holley:

Again, it goes back to being measured about what are you talking? Are you listening? Are you listening more than you talk? People, they’re influenced by people that ask good questions and then listen to the answers. You don’t have to be always talking over people.

Chris Goede:

Whatever they’re talking about. You got a better story One up them.

Perry Holley:

Beat my story. Yeah.

Chris Goede:

Yeah. All that stuff like no. Yeah.

Perry Holley:

Don’t do that. Number 11, I threw this in. Can you have a sense of humor or are you always serious, humor versus serious?

Chris Goede:

I’ve worked for a lot of leaders and I’ve had some serious, but they had great influence with me. There’s just a different level of influence and connection, for me personally. Maybe not everybody listening, to where when there’s humor and I just think it drives for me, it drives realness. It drives engagement, and then in turn increases your influence.

Perry Holley:

I love it, because we do laugh a lot here. We take the work serious, but we don’t take ourselves seriously and we take shots at each other, and we laugh at each other. Even here in the studio today, we’ve laughed pretty hard with Jake.

Chris Goede:

We’re an hour and a half late because Jake kept throwing daggers at us.

Perry Holley:

Yes.

Chris Goede:

We laugh.

Perry Holley:

No, we laugh at a good time. All right. Number 12, one of my favorites is are you teachable or are you the know-it-all? I just find that it’s one of my favorite words in leadership is that are you showing yourself teachable, or are you the leader that comes in and you have all the answers? You never ask any questions, you tell people all the things, and it just doesn’t bode well for influence when you have all the answers.

Chris Goede:

As a leader, I never forget this illustration, and I’m not sure who I heard it from first, where you want to be that leader, that individual, to where when you walk in a room and then you leave the room, the room feels smarter than it did maybe before You have that conversation. What you don’t want in a leader or you don’t want to represent yourself, and won’t increase your influences, is if you walk into a room and they go, “Well man, he obviously thinks he was the smartest person in the room.” Remember, I said thanks because I guarantee you were not.

Perry Holley:

You never are.

Chris Goede:

That just has that, it just has that aura when it’s not … It’s not good when you walk in, as if you know it all, and you’re the subject matter expert. You may be, but man, you do not need to do that. You need to go in there with a teachable heart. I think if you do that, it increases your influence.

As we wrap up, this was simple, but maybe not easy to live out, that Perry put together for us in regards to this chart. I would encourage you, this will be part of the learner guide. You can download this, and there’s a couple things you can do with this. Number one, you can go through this and self-evaluate and you probably have examples. I could go down, I could give you examples right now on both sides of this chart that I’ve done in the last week. I would want to say, “Okay, well how do I fix some of these things that maybe hurt my influence?” The other thing you may want to do is say, go to your team, this would be an interesting idea. Oh, here we go.

Perry Holley:

Not a self evaluation, a team evaluation.

Chris Goede:

I’m not doing this. This is just a good idea. Perry, give me that sheet. Our next Monday meeting’s going to at Perry’s. Perry’s going to be Chris, I thought you had a team exercises for all us to do. Maybe you hand it out and then you have your team member put a check on which side they feel like that you model more, the one that helps or the one that hurts. Then it would be an awful telling if they could give you good feedback with that, but simple, not easy to live out. I would encourage you to review these. This is the foundation for you, continuing to build your leadership and influence with the team.

Perry Holley:

I’ll have mine to you before end of the day.

Chris Goede:

That’s right.

Perry Holley:

All right. Thank you Chris. Just a reminder that maxwellleadership.com/podcast, if you’d like to leave a question, leave a comment, if you’d like to learn more about our offerings. We do love hearing from you and we’re so grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast.

1 thought on "Executive Podcast #211: Twelve Choices Leaders Make to Fuel Their Influence"

  • Joseph Miller says: October 28, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Hi guys,
    I really liked this study today. I noticed though, some of these references are hard to accomplish when coaching middle school and high school boys basketball.
    For instance, talk vs yell. During practice I can be mostly about talking up to a point….that point being running a play to ad nauseam. In a game I will talk during the huddles in a time-out, however, when the game resumes yelling from the sidelines to the players seems the most appropriate.
    Another example is measured vs rushed. What I have noticed is the game is measured with a finite amount of time…even the time outs are measured. Thus, we coaches have to rush our communication to the players in the most exact terms and in the shortest amount of time.
    Therefore, I think these “12 Choices” need to be used differently in a variety of leadership roles as at work, in the family, in the sports arena, in the classroom, etc.

    Reply
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