The key to influencing is understanding others

As leaders, we all want to have positive influence in our personal and professional life. How do we morally and ethically influence the lives of others in a positive way?

The late Stephen Covey once said, “The key to human influence is first to be influenced—first understand, before seeking to be understood. People are only open to influence when they feel understood.”
When we think about influence, we think how to communicate our own message first. We want to make sure people understand our vision and expectations first. But influence, can be viewed as a communication process that seeks to understand another point of view and concerns before ours.
When we first seek to understand another person, we are first influenced by their feedback and point of view. By doing so, we empower them to articulate their views and concerns because we care to listen to their story. Their story becomes part of our story as we share a common ways to achieve success together.
As Covey mentioned in his powerful statement, people will be more open and receptive when you are willing to find out more about them and their story. To communicate effectively, we also have to be empathetic and listen deeply to understand people better. As leaders we must make time to listen, ask questions and walk along side with the people on our team.
The best way to reach out and influence others is to understand who they are as humans:
What makes them excited?
What drives them?
What makes them go the extra mile?
What can we do help with their concerns?
Good leaders sense others’ feelings and adjust their approach to match the audience’s ability to receive their message. Leaders use their emotional understanding to influence others in positive ways because it creates a significant relationship.
We begin our communication with the intent to understand, instead of the intent to respond. We need to empathize as we build our relationships together because when we communicating with one another, we want to be sincere and completely present.
Here are few ways to understand and care:
Recognize the best in others
As a leader, you can make a positive impact and have powerful influence when you bring the best in others. Each person has potentials and we need to communicate those to them on a regular basis. Believe in others as a meaningful connection toward their self-development. They will see and feel the motive comes from a good place in your heart.
Perform an act of service
An act of service is another good way to care for another person. It’s our way of placing other people’s needs before our personal needs. We put their best interest in our heart and willing to give from our heart to make their day better.
Encourage openness and vulnerability
Good Leaders foster trust in their circle of influence. They encourage full disclosure and a safe environment for their people to voice their views. Good leaders have the courage to be vulnerable to hear what’s not working right and the ability to recognize their own shortcomings. By practicing openness and vulnerability, we create a strong circle of trust with everyone around us as they feel safe without someone ignoring their views.

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