Leadership at its best is about influence, but the most effective authentic leadership requires a level of consciousness that goes beyond the mere surface level strategies for influence taught by Cialdini and others. Authentic influence, or the ability to connect and integrate strategic objectives with what matters most to an individual or team creates a flow of actions and results that will guarantee leadership success.
Several mental shifts are required to move from transactional leadership to the space required for authentic influence:
- Shift from self-obsessive to serving others.
- Shift from doing to being; specifically from the execution of tasks for narrow results to expanded awareness for amplified results.
- Shift from directive to collaborative.
- Shift from transactional relationships to generative relational trust that relies on understanding the motivation and worldview of others.
- Shift from expert knowing to curiosity.
Begin in the domain of awareness. Many leaders today are overwhelmed, stressed, navigating complexity, uncertainty, volatility, and ambiguity. Their attention is stretched thin across many arenas, and the pace of business today is often mind-boggling. Any senior executive can tell you that influence is a critical skill of effective leadership, but how are they doing it? What are they doing that they call influence? Is it manipulation? Coercion? Sales? Persuasion? That’s not what we’re talking about. We mean exploring the required mindsets and mental shifts to allow for authentic influence; which is less about something you do as a leader and more about who you’re being.