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I have always made a point of doing what I can to help others be more successful. Whether it is mentoring an intern or taking on the role of spearheading a company initiative, any opportunity for me to positively influence others is one that I will gladly take. People who know me will say that I am personable and patient with people, traits which are valuable in the world of leadership. A large part of my professional life has been spent driving customer experience improvement initiatives for my employers through process improvements and facilitating change management.
In my job, I have often been a part of the leading team on key projects and have been responsible for setting the overall direction for our business. My leadership role has given me opportunities to influence others in many ways. Much of the time, however, I am not always able to actively influence others into taking on more responsibility. This may be due to my actual influence on others being limited by their lack of cooperation and inability to change their ways, or it may be because some people don’t trust me enough to follow through with what I say.
Sometimes when these barriers come up in my ability to positively influence others, I find myself feeling frustrated and disappointed. It’s not easy to be an effective leader when people are unwilling to take the initiative on key initiatives. I have achieved successes in these situations, but I have equally suffered failures. The measure of my leadership ability will likely be measured on how well I am able to positively influence others. If I can’t do this effectively, my job is difficult and often frustrating.
I have found that leading effectively is not about being a good manager or an inspirational leader. It’s more about being the right person at the right time for what you need to be doing. As I considered this question, it became clearer for me that there are some factors that are critical in achieving success as a leader. I’ll describe a few of them below.
First, the key to successfully influencing others is by setting a good example. If you want your team to take on responsibility and be accountable, then you have to do that yourself first. This means that it’s not just about doing the work well yourself but also being willing to think about how things can be done better and leading by example for others to follow. In addition, being proactive is important so that when others are struggling or need assistance with leadership activities, you catch these situations early before they get out of hand and negatively affect your ability to lead effectively.
Second, effective leadership is acting in a cohesive way with your team rather than acting independently from them.