Five Reasons Small Business Leaders May Not Be As Influential As They Think

A company title does not determine the level of employee influence/
Author and small business leader Stacey Hanke of Stacey Hanke Inc. knows from which she speaks.
She adds, “You can imagine how many times I hear the following misconceptions.

  • I communicate all the time. I’m Comfortable, therefore I’m a good communicator.
  • When I know my topic, it’s easy.

Stacey believes small business leaders need to be careful with these two words: “Comfortable” and “easy.
According to her,”they do not equal influence. It is a natural human tendency to base our opinion of ourselves on how we feel when we communicate rather than on the facts of how we actually look and sound. Our thinking is, “I feel good, therefore I am good.”
Says Stacey, “more often than not, what we feel inside doesn’t translate to what listeners are seeing and hearing.”
According to her, the third excuse is that “our titles determine the level of influence we have.”
Continues Stacey, “Influence is not a badge of honor. It’s a choice that takes discipline and a lot of hard work every day.”
“One of the reasons that leaders believe they’re more influential than they really are is because the definition of influence is flawed. There’s a misconception of what influence is and an outdated, inadequate understanding of what it means to be influential,” she adds.
“You may be familiar with this definition: the ability to motivate people to take action. This is true, but it’s not the complete picture. This definition misses a key component of influence. Influence is more than turning it on when you think you need it the most,” says Stacey.
Stacey says there are five crucial factors:

  1. Influence is Monday to Monday – your body language and message are consistent during all interactions, no matter whom you’re talking to and what medium you’re pushing your message through. If you have ever set a New Year’s Resolution or you know individuals who have, you have to be all in, Monday to Monday. You can’t eat healthy Monday to Wednesday and slip the rest of the week. Influence requires the same level of discipline Monday to Monday.
  2. Influence means you have the ability to move people to take action long after the interaction occurs. 
  3. Influence is built on verbal and nonverbal communication.
  4. Influence is measured not by how you feel but by the results you consistently achieve.
  5. Influence is a critical skill that can be developed by anyone through feedback, practice and accountability.

Accomplishing these definitions of influence is difficult because we live in a new world of work; it’s noise 24/7. Think about how many messages you have already received today. We have noise from our own dialogue and the multitude of messages we receive 24 hours a day, every day.
The critical first step to taking a closer look at your level of influence requires you to be open-minded, vulnerable and committed. Influential communicators acknowledge that they don’t know everything, and they are open to self-discovery.
To enhance your influence, you need to evaluate your communication based on facts, not feelings. You need to get to the heart of what is really going on by experiencing your communication through the eyes and ears of your team and colleagues.
Applying this practical and immediate advice will help you gain a greater understanding of how you communicate and continuously grow you and your team’s influence.

Stacey Hanke is the founder and communication expert of Stacey Hanke Inc.  She is the author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday and Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A to Z to Influence Others to Take Action.