Whether stated clearly on the job description or implied, leaders are hired to make an impact. A leader’s impact usually results in change for the organization.
I am sure some of us have been affected by leaders in such a way that it pains us to talk about the experience driven by abuse of power, egocentricity, and attitudes of “I’m always right,” “my way or the highway” or “feel free to challenge my ideas, but I am not going to change my mind.”
On the other hand, we also have been impacted by some leaders in a very positive, life-transforming way. We are the better for having been under their leadership. It gives us great joy to talk about those experiences. In these cases, the impact has a positive effect on the lives of others, which brings about lasting changes in the way they live, act, think, believe and behave. It is deep and transforming.
The question is not whether you are having an impact, but what kind of impact are you having, positive or negative impact? The impact you are having on those you are leading will determine whether they will believe in you and follow you.
While you cannot avoid making an impact on those you are leading, you certainly can determine to some extent what kind of impact you have on them.
Here are some ideas to consider when thinking about the kind of impact you are having on those you lead.
Do your followers feel valued, cared for and respected by you? People will follow a leader if they feel valued, cared for and respected by the leader. Leaders who look people in the eyes and ask questions for understanding when having a conversation are communicating the message, “I care, I respect you and I value you.”
It is easy to say we care about, respect and value others, but it takes hard work and being intentional to show it. It is more work for leaders who are introverts, and less effort for extroverts. Whether you are extrovert or introvert, you have to be deliberate about making a positive impact.
Just as we are concerned to make a good impression to the new comer in our midst, we should also be concerned to make those we lead and those who are often with us feel equally valued.
Don’t take everything personally. Remember, as leader you are being placed on the firing line. There is only one of you and many of them, so you have to expect some will take shots at you. Jesus, our leader, modeled this to us more than any other. The religious people of the day were always taking shots at Him, but He never let that discouraged Him from having a positive impact on those chosen to follow Him.
Leaders who take everything personally often find themselves leading more by their emotions than by reason. They have trouble being objective. They tend to have trouble forgiving and moving on. They struggle in the area of emotional intelligence.
Be a role model. Don’t just talk the talk but also walk the talk. You will have a greater impact on others by what they see you doing than by what they hearing you saying.
Model conflict management, forgiveness, reconciliation, how to have a tough conversation and how to treat all people fairly and equally. These are things that will have the greatest impact on those you lead.
Model humility by being the first to say, “I am sorry,” and ask forgiveness even when you know you are in the right. Sometimes it is not what you have a right to that matters, but doing the right thing even when it necessitates you giving up your rights.
You are making an impact on those under your leadership. The question is do you know which kind of impact?
Take the risk and ask some of your followers to be honest with you and tell you what kind of impact are you making.
Evaluate your impact using the observations you receive. Celebrate where you are doing well and take some practical steps to improve the areas where you need some work.
If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at email@example.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.