Leadership is an Influence Game
by Annette Brown
Do you have friends who would do anything for you, no matter what? My husband has several such friends who regularly jump in trenches, dig dirt, turn wrenches, build walls, get greasy and work up a sweat—out of commitment, not compliance.
One of the most fascinating executives I’ve worked for was an absolute master at inspiring others to want to do the things that he saw needed to be done rather than making them do things out of fear for losing their jobs. First, this leader had high personal credibility—he did what he said he would do. But he also got to know people and what’s important to them. So when he had a vision for something that needed to be done, he could help people see the WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me?”).
As his executive assistant, I would have rather cut off my right arm than let him down or drop the ball. It wasn’t uncommon for me to stay late, come in early and work through lunch, and I absolutely loved every minute! This leader got people to act out of commitment, not compliance. I’ve come to realize that leadership is an influence game.
Who is in your circle of influence? And do you know what’s important to them, what their priorities are, and where they spend their time? Can you frame what you’re asking them to do in a way that showcases how it helps them? Building lasting relationships with the people you work and interact with, getting to know what’s important to them and showing how they benefit from doing what you’re asking can help you shine as a leader. (As a parent, I’ve found it works with teenagers, too!)
Be sure that while you’re adding colleagues to your Linked In profile and friends to your Facebook account, that you’re also investing energy in building meaningful relationships. Get to know what’s important to the people you rely on. Most importantly, build a reputation as a person of your word—when you do what you say you will do, people are more likely to want to do what you what you see needs done.
I find that administrative professionals often make great leaders. For helpful information and articles on leadership, check out this website: www.i-lead.com.
Annette Brown, Professional Development Specialist, Luxottica
Annette Brown is a learning and development specialist for Luxottica with 30 years of proven business experience and is both a certified Star Achievement and Star Manager Trainer. Having spent the first 18 years of her career in administrative roles, she was among the early founders of Luxottica’s team of office professionals, now known as the L.E.A.P. Team (Leadership, Education, Achievement, Partnership). To convey what Annette does in her role at Luxottica, a learner from one of her Star classes described it this way: “she provides H.O.P.E.—that is, Helping Other People Evolve.” Annette is a wife of 24 years, mother of a college student and works as a Development Specialist for Luxottica, world-class manufacturer and optical retailer for familiar brands such as LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Sunglass Hut, Ilori, Oakley, and EyeMed Vision Care. Luxottica’s North American Headquarters is located in Mason, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati.