FountainBlue’s February 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence. We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around what it takes to be influential and impactful within an organization. They agreed on the following:
- Knowing who you are, what you’re passionate about, and being committed to delivering results and getting things done are the heart of every influential leader.
- Communicating who you are and engaging and listing others in your web of influence to join in and support goals and objectives comes only after the first step, but is also critical.
- Reaching for more breadth and experience, being open to new people and learnings helped make our panelists the successful and influential leaders they are.
- Taking the high road, seeing the larger picture, and being open and accepting of others helps leaders navigate waters, which can be sometimes turbulent, especially when there’s a lot of change. And even when things are pretty stable, because of the nature of tech companies and the market changes overall, everyone needs to deal with a very diverse base of stakeholders. Learning the motivations of the audience, and communicating in a way they understand is also critical in order to be influential.
Below is advice from our panel for those who want to be more influential:
- Don’t think that to be an influential you have to be a Dragon Lady. Be influential in a direct, positive, collaborative, win-for-all way.
- In the same token, don’t hold back from trying to be influential because you want to be nice, because you don’t like conflict.
- Get your facts straight and focus on the data to influence others on a course of action and decision.
- Have a broad and deep network of connections, spinning a web across all those you touch. Use those connections to get the information, resources and connections you need to get work done!
- Select a leadership team, company and culture that aligns well with your values, who you are, what you’re about.
- Being trustworthy, authentic, goal-focused and direct will help make sure that you are worthy of the influence you wield.
- Pick your battles. Know what you will focus on and change, work with what you can’t change. There will be those Dragon Ladies, those cows-in-the-road, but ignore and push forward to achieve that higher purpose.
In the end, the heart of influence is a brand, a reputation for consistently and persistently delivering results, in a wide range of roles and settings.