Our team has recently taken on the challenge of reading “The 12 best business books of all time” as outlined by Dan Dzombak from The Motley Fool. We created an internal Relentless Learners Club where every Wednesday at 4:00pm we get together to discuss that weeks’ reading and then, how to apply it to our personal and professional lives. Through reading one of our first books by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age, along with a recent conversation I had with the youngest member on our team, Kevin, I have been reminded of basic concepts as a business owner – as we are building our businesses, supporting our teams, and assisting our clients with their growth, we really all just want the same things as individuals. We want to contribute, be valued for what we contribute, and have an impact as well as a connection with others.
These concepts are not complex yet they tend to get lost in the latest management strategy, the newest employee engagement fad, or the current challenge or crisis within our businesses. As leaders maybe it is time to step back and get back to the basic aspects of leading and influencing others. When was the last time you connected with your team and checked-in with how they are doing not only professionally, but also personally? How well are you truly aware or listening to the issues impacting your team’s performance?
Interesting enough, the ability to influence others is not about position or how forcefully you direct, but understanding and supporting those around you. It is about a symbiotic relationship of mutual respect. It is awareness of our own vulnerabilities and how they may impact our willingness to be transparent and authentic. The sad element is individuals only have two people in their lives that they can truly confide in and trust, according to the latest research in Carnegie’s book. As a leader, are you one of the two people in your team member’s lives that they trust and know you have their back? Don’t we all want to have true authentic relationships both at work and at home?
Become an influencer, not just a manager. Take a few minutes to evaluate what you want in your relationships at work and then, assess how you are reflecting this with your team. My hunch is they want the same things you do – solid, trustworthy relationships that honor who they are. Again, it is an easy concept to desire, but a much harder one to execute. If you operate within these parameters, you may be surprised how you can truly “win friends and influence others.”