“SmartLeaders influence.” So begins the SmartLeadership philosophy. But what is influence and how does one gain it? SmartLeaders know the key to gaining influence. It is a key that is not limited by one’s knowledge base, innate charisma, or societal position. The key to influence is relationships. SmartLeaders gain influence by building, maintaining and expanding their network of relationships. SmartLeaders know that their most powerful tool is not their cheque book, credit rating, or educational credentials; rather it is their network of relationships.
Because relationships are of such great importance, SmartLeaders go to great lengths to build positive relationships. To help you expand your influence through relationships let’s examine the nine axioms of relationships.
- Relationships are Intentional. SmartLeaders know that relationships do not just happen, so they go to intentional lengths to build and maintain relationships. SmartLeaders know that investing in others is never a waste of time.
- Relationships are Need-based. The SmartLeader is focused on the needs of the other person. SmartLeaders build and maintain relationships by asking how they can meet a need (or want) in another person’s life. Zig Ziglar had it right, you CAN get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.
- Relationships are Forgiving. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. SmartLeaders are flexible and therefore, willing to overlook imperfections in others (and themselves) in order to build strong relationships.
- Relationships are Long-term. Because SmartLeaders are not looking to use other people to meet short-term quotas, they seek to build relationships that lead to long term accomplishments. The SmartLeader knows that the relationships they initiate today may not come to fruition for 5, 10 or 20 years.
- Relationships are Unique. No two relationships are the same. SmartLeaders accept the uniqueness of individuals as a precious gift. SmartLeaders treat other people as individuals with individual needs, goals, and desires thus they refuse to fall into the trap of universal care. The SmartLeader never apologizes for treating different people differently.
- Relationships are Encouraging. SmartLeaders know that relationships are built on encouragement, thus they seek to bring out the best in other people. Encouragement not only maintains a healthy relationship but it also pushes the other person to a new level of success.
- Relationships are Necessary. The SmartLeader knows that everyone is looking for positive healthy relationships. Human beings were created for relationships. SmartLeaders never apologize for their relational focus.
- Relationships are Cooperative. There is no such thing as a one person relationship. For a relationship to thrive it requires cooperation from both parties. SmartLeaders are willing to initiate a relationship but they also accept that cooperation is necessary. At times, the SmartLeader will have to forgo a relationship with an uncooperative person.
- Relationships are Energizing. In good relationships there is energy. Energy that pushes one to excel. Energy that drives one toward excellence. Energy that creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm. SmartLeaders work to create energy in relationships.
As you can see, the nine characteristics of dynamic relationships complete the acrostic: INFLUENCE. Now that you know the key,you can begin to expand your sphere of influence by building and maintaining positive relationships. Here are some action steps for you to ponder:
- How can I strengthen the relationships I already have? One SmartLeader I know of, writes 12 personal letters a week. Theletters have one purpose: encouragement.
- With whom do I need to initiate a relationship? SmartLeaders are always on the lookout for ways to help others. SmartLeaders seekto build positive relationships with other people, regardless of the persons status or position..
- Is there a broken relationship that I need to repair? Occasionally a misdirected spark is enough to burn a bridge. And just as often, an extended hand is enough to bridge a gap.
Remember that relationships are the key to your influence, but for true success your influence must move people in positive directions. Such positive influence is built upon three life-precepts: intelligence, innovation, and integrity (the SmartLeaders “Triangle of Influence”).
For more information on building relationships, SmartLeadership recommends:
- “The SmartLeadership Philosophy,” available free at www.smartleadership.com/philosophy.htmor by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Harvey Mackay, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need. To purchase the book visitwww.smartleadership.com/books.htm