Leaders who have uncommon influence seek to bring out the best in others-individually and corporately. That can be a big challenge. Sometimes we strive to find the right strategy, system, or tool to help improve a team’s performance. However, when you aim to help an individual improve, you’ll simultaneously improve the team as a whole. In studying other leaders and learning from my own trials and errors, I have found that consistently implementing the following practices can start a chain reaction of growth and even life change. And that’s what being an uncommon influencer is all about.
- Discover Potential
First, the uncommon influencer is a master at discovering talent in their team members. They are always looking for it and know that one of the keys to future success is finding the next generation of talent. Having our eyes open looking for clues that indicate potential is something that always pays off. People like to work for a leader who recognizes special qualities in his or her team members. It’s kind of like being the talent scout who seems to always discover the next all-star. They know what to look for but most importantly they are constantly looking for it.
- Fan the Flame
Not only do great leaders discover specific strengths in a person, they also encourage growth by providing opportunities for practice. As a teenager I worked for a man who believed I had potential as a leader and a speaker. In order to hone those strengths he asked me to lead some of the team meetings. Giving people responsibility even before they feel ready for it, allows for rapid growth. Any mistakes made along the way only serve as important parts of the development process. When we give the team member responsibility in line with the potential we discover, we fan the flame.
- Share Truth with Respect
Finally, an uncommon influencer doesn’t shy away from telling the truth. The best coaches call out and correct behaviors in their players. After all, if someone doesn’t share with them how they can improve, they likely won’t. The best leaders, however, will share truth with respect. It’s an art form to deliver critical feedback in such a way that the recipient knows that we are for them not against them. Uncommon influencers always strive to preserve the person while correcting the behavior.
Sharing the truth doesn’t stop with just giving critical feedback either. Great leaders must also give positive feedback authentically. They don’t point out potential in passing or give flippant flattery. They take the time to praise progress-no matter how small- and celebrate success.
If we practice these three traits consistently our influence will increase, our teams will be stronger and in turn our results will most certainly improve. I hope you have a terrific day scouting for potential, fanning it’s flame and sharing truth with respect.