Recently, I was a little taken aback by feedback I received from someone who worked in a different department. The feedback reads,
I find Isabel rather quiet and possibly not as vocal with her influence as she could be. It is only when I am working with her directly that I see her strong influence at the company.
It was a good feedback because it made me think. It made me question my approach and how I am being perceived by others. Does being outspoken equal being influential? If I was loud and proud and was always adding my two cents worth to every discussion, does it make me an influential person?
The answer is, of course, subjective and many people will have different perspectives. I’d like to share my perspectives on what being influential means to me.
Being influential means having others wanting to hear my point of view and listen to what I have to say.
Being influential means I make good decisions (more good ones than bad) and others trust me to make decisions that they want to follow.
Being influential means having an open mind to listen to what others have to say and taking them into consideration.
Being influential means knowing the difference between empowering and directing and when to do one over the other.
Being influential means choosing where and how I want to make an impact because as with anything, quality always trumps quantity.
Being influential means knowing myself and knowing my values. I need to know where I stand and what I care about before I can be influential in an area.
Now let’s take a look at what being influential is not about.
Being influential isn’t about having a charisma, many influential leaders do have charisma but that is a by-product and not a characteristic on its own.
Being influential isn’t about having the loudest voice or being the most vocal person is the room. It helps but if there is no substance to what I am saying then it doesn’t add up.
Being influential isn’t about having all the answers. Sometimes, it is about empowering others to find answers for themselves.
Being influential isn’t about being liked by everyone. The truth is that, in life, some people will like me, some people won’t, and if I spend my time trying to please everyone, I would have no chance to be myself.
Last but not least, I don’t want to try to be influential, I want to become influential because of my opinions and actions. I believe that being influential is an outcome and can only be obtained through right thinking and actions.