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Practice what you preach or don’t preach at all. The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice you give others.

Leading by example is all about influence; it’s a trait of a true leader. Leadership is the process where one individual influences the behaviours, attitudes and thoughts of others. They see everyone’s potential and they encourage and inspire those around them. A group of individuals with poor leadership will quickly degenerate into conflict and resistance because everyone sees things differently and will naturally lean toward different solutions.

To be an influential leader you must be present and have self–awareness of your current existence and what you can control within your environment. So often you see leaders whom seek respect yet run around worrying about the things they have no control over. What kind of environment do you think this kind of leader will cultivate?

The principles of an influential leader who lives and breathes the below.

Truth, honesty and integrity

Creating a culture where everyone can stand in his or her truth with integrity is key to be an influential leader. Standing in one’s truth can be confronting; however, great leaders avoid partial truth and do not mislead others. They have a knack of overcoming their fears of what others may think about them.

The truth will always be exposed eventually, that’s why good leaders avoid lying to others. They don’t criticize, complain or condemn. They give constructive and honest feedback for the betterment of others, they are genuinely interested in their wellbeing and success. In return, they are open to constructive feedback and act on it, making other people feel important that they had contribution in some way shape or form to this feedback.

Positive attracts positive

Optimism is a happiness magnet – think positive and positive things will happen. Every day you have a choice, you either choose to have a good day or you choose to have a bad day. You choose to be at peace or you choose to be resistant.

Every situation has a positive and negative aspect to it. You can always find the positive in a situation, by changing the way you look at it or the way you perceive a situation, which, in fact, can change the way the situation unfolds.

One of Buddha’s famous quotes is – ‘all that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become’.

You can influence and change the thinking of others by cultivating a positive mindset that will bring you peace and happiness. Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage and hope – in return, this creates happiness for others. It’s contagious. Try it.

Talk less and listen more

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason – so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. To be influential you have to become genuinely interested in other people; be a great listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Make the other person feel important by being present and listening with your heart.

Have empathy and be sympathetic with the other persons ideas and desires. Let them be the point of focus. Ask questions, allowing them to come to their own ideas rather than giving them orders. It’s so much more empowering for the individual if they find their own way.

Own it

Accountability builds responsibility, trust and respect – these are big words in anyone’s language.

When you are personally accountable you take ownership of your actions and choices. If you are a leader, then your accountability extends beyond your own actions. You don’t blame others when things go wrong, instead you go out of your way to make things right. It’s also a fact that those leaders who take personal accountability have better social interactions with their teams because their accountability builds trust and respect.

We all make mistakes. When you can call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly or talk about your own mistakes you create an environment where there are ‘no excuses’ and others own up to their mistakes, standing in their truth. This is far easier than blaming others. Blaming others gives your power away, by learning how to fix things and resolve situations and problems; it is a much more powerful and more rewarding frame of mind.

Praise of gratefulness

Gratitude turns what you have into enough and gratitude is an appreciation of what you have, it is magnetic. The more gratitude you have the more abundance you will attract, and gratitude opens doors. To cultivate the habit of being grateful, you need to make a list so that you show gratitude and appreciation.

Gratitude is seeing the good in your life and work that will allow you to keep your heart fed while you work to change the more unsavoury parts. Begin your dose of daily praise and honest appreciation. Praise the slightest improvements and praise every improvement. This creates engagement and encouragement.

Remain flexible and pursue the balance that is required for you to constantly adjust and shift when you need to and embrace simplicity; you don’t need to have all the answers to be influential.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you were honest and didn’t know the answers to everything?