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10 Principles Every Leader Must Follow to Lead with Influence

Do you feel that there is a leadership deficit in the world today? I certainly do. It is evident to me that too many companies are still living by an old, outdated leadership playbook of positional style leadership. Now is the time to throw out this outdated thinking and lead with influence. Here are 10 principles that I believe must be followed to make this happen.

The Me Principle - It starts with you.

As a leader, it starts with you. As a matter of fact, it ends with you too. When you lead people, you lead people by many things, one being example. And if you don’t set that standard, and you don't look inward as a leader and make changes on your own, for growth and change, nobody else that you lead is going to do that either. That's just a fact. You may feel that once you’ve reached ‘the top’ then you have accomplished where you want to be. You then are trapped in the idea that you’ve made it to the top of your game. The unfortunate consequence that I have seen in many leaders is that, because they have ‘reached the top’, there's no need to improve or grow in their own personal or leadership development. That is 100% inaccurate. Everything starts with you.

The Power Principle - Your thoughts define your actions.

When you reach a certain level, you must be careful with the power you may have. You’re responsible for making decisions for employees, for the company, and for many other aspects of your department. If that power is not clearly defined in your own mind as a leader, you can do more harm or damage to you and your team than it does good. How you handle that type of power and how you view that type of power is what is going to define how you behave - how you behave towards yourself, the managers that you manage, the teams that they manage, those above you. Power can be used in one of two ways - for the benefit of others, or for the demise of others. It is imperative that you examine this to truly influence those around you in a way that is going to cause them to listen to you because they want to, not because they have to.

The Others Principle - It’s not about you.

As a leader, it is imperative that, every day, when we go and sit in our desk, in our office, or wherever it is that you work, that the first thing you think is, “Today is not about me, it is about them.” You see, just as the Power Principle defines your actions with those types of thoughts, so does this. If it's always about them, then everything that you say, everything that you do, everything that you view is going to be intentional. I believe that the Others Principle is the centerpiece of leadership.

The Willing Principle - Experience the possibilities.

When you are open, to the possibility that you need to change, growth happens. I'm going to be straight with you. We all need to change our perspective. Our opinions, many times, are molded by outside sources and outside influences. That includes those that lead us. We get influenced by their method and their way and we tend to neglect the fact that we need to open up our mind to the possibility that there needs to be change in how we lead. When we open up to that possibility, it opens doors that you've never thought possible. You will see things that you've never seen before on your team, in your company, in your own supervisor, that you've never seen before - the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is no way you can lead other people if we do not lead yourself first.

The Ego Principle – Stop the bleeding.

When you let your ego get in the way, that trickles down to your employees and those that you lead. Then you start seeing inconsistencies, a drop in productivity, and many other side-effects of ego-centric leadership. Infection of this ego mentality spreads because, remember, it all starts with you which means now you're looking at it from the high-level overview. You look at your teams and they're bleeding. You are literally bleeding your team dry by letting your ego guide you in your actions and in your thoughts. Listen, just because you're hitting productivity goals does not mean your team is not bleeding. Do you want to retain your good players, your strong players? Losing players that are solid leaders of your team that are setting that example and producing for us is not a good quality to have as a leader.

The Reflect Principle – Reflection breeds intention.

When you can reflect upon your day, upon how it is that you manage and lead those that are part of your team, you can reflect on how to become better and make changes. By doing so, we become very intentional about how you approach leading others. Intentionality breeds growth. Dedicate a time for daily reflection. Ask yourself questions like, “What could I have done better as a leader?” If you are not being intentional as a leader, you’re not going to ever be able to serve those that you lead. Reflection not only positively impacts you but impacts the transformation you can have on your team.

The Mindset Principle – What you think, you are.

What are you doing as a leader to remain consistent in adjusting your thoughts? Are you being negatively influenced by your past experiences? You must get into the right mindset as a leader in order to understand that everything that you think eventually changes you. And if it changes you, what do you think it's going to do for those that you lead? Do you not think that they're going to see that? Whether it's negative or it's positive it's going to influence those that you lead. Every day you are you are influencing people in some way. Think about that! That is a very powerful. Your mindset is a crucial part of becoming a successful leader.

The Equipping Principle – Provide the bow and the arrow.

Many times, throughout my career, I've experienced situations where their managers or supervisors are basically providing their people the arrow to ‘go get it done’ but not providing them the tools like the bow to equip them to make it happen. Then what ends up happening is the leader gets frustrated that this person did not live up to the expectation and then blame it on them. Yet, they didn't provide them the bow AND the arrow, they only gave him the arrow. You've got to provide tools for your people. You need to equip them. Ask yourself, “Do I coach or mentor those that I promote?” You need coach, mentor, and equip those that you want to lead. Your company can't just throw them in there and expect that you're going to get the exact same result as somebody else without providing them the tools necessary to be successful.

The Nurture Principle – Feed and water the plants.

I have two plants in my house – a ‘money’ tree and a succulent cactus. Both of these plants only need watering once a week. Now, what if I stopped watering them? What would happen? As I’m sure you know, they slowly wither and die. However, what’s interesting is that the withering happens slowly. If you catch it in time, you can rescue the plant and potentially save it. It is never too late to begin nurturing your people. So many leaders will observe this ‘withering’ of their people and consistently place the blame on others and not look at themselves as the cause. It is essential that you provide the needed nurturing to your team to ensure that they grow. Leadership is learned, not born.

The Time Principle – Don’t buy into the myth.

I cannot tell you how often I hear, “I just don't have the time.” Using time as the reason for not influencing your team or for not taking the time to invest in you, is an excuse. Do not buy into the myth that time can be managed. Because it can't be. It's not about time management, it's about self-management. We all have the same amount of time. You can't manage time but you can manage yourself. That is what is needed instead of focusing on and managing time.

In order for any of these principles to be transformational in your life as a leader and impact those that you lead, don’t say to yourself, “I’ve heard this before.” Instead, ask yourself, “How well am I doing this?” It starts with you. If you are not willing to look at yourself, reflect, and change to get better results, then you cannot expect the people you lead to do so either.

Exclusive 💬

Lou Everett

About author

Personal & Leadership Development and Coaching. Corporate Training. Licensed Diversity & Inclusion Trainer.

As co-owner of The Lou Everett Group, he brings over two decades of experience in the leadership and personal development space. He has a highly successful background serving other leaders and leadership teams within organizations by providing leadership coaching, corporate training, and mentorship.

Lou has received and had direct training and certifications from well-known and successful leaders such as John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, and others. Lou has been on television, radio, and is passionate about spreading the message of Influential Leadership.

Lou currently resides in North Carolina with his business partner and wife Sherri of 15 years. He has two grown children ages 24 and 21. On his ‘free’ time, Lou enjoys reading, writing, and travel. Currently, he is writing a book, mPOWERment!™ Leadership – 10 Principles Every Leader Must Follow to Lead by Influence which is set to release in the summer of 2021.

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