Words have the power to build people up, hold people back, and break people down. The words you speak as a leader are especially influential, with the ability to empower or disempower others.
Of all the words you can say, five are especially meaningful in terms of influence:
How can I help you?
With those five words you communicate some important principles. Offering to help positions you as a servant leader, and asking how you can help shows respect and gives the other person ownership of their own future. The simple question “How can I help?” is at the core of the most influential things leaders do:
Leading by example. Stand beside those who are working hard and work as hard as they do to demonstrate to them your commitment and determination. Show them by example what it means to invest in yourself so they can follow your lead.
Showing respect. Give those around you the respect they deserve. Self-respect may guide your morals, but the respect for others should guide your behavior. Respect everyone you meet, whether they’re your superiors, your peers or your subordinates.
Spending time. The biggest investment you can make in your people is your time. Spending quality time with people will affect their job performance directly and spreads your influence. Spend time connecting with people as often as you can. Talk to them about topics that aren’t related to work and show genuine interest in them as a person. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.
Fostering mentorship. If you really want to help those around you, mentor them in ways that help them feel empowered. Don’t tell them what to do but stand beside them as a support system. Make sure they know you’re available if they need your counsel. Promote them when they deserve it and praise them when they earn it. Put their best interest ahead of yours.
Making resources accessible. Give people the tools they need by ensuring that resources and materials are available to everyone. Nothing is more demoralizing than setting out on a job with enthusiasm only to find that you don’t have everything you need.
Serving with devotion. Be present when you’re with your people—don’t let anything distract you or get in the way. Listen with the intent to learn, ask questions for clarity, and offer support and direction when they’re needed so those who serve you can perform at their highest level.
In everything you do, remember the core attitude: How can I help you? These words have the power to influence those around you, creating a circle of positive change that ripples out far beyond your individual reach. That’s the power of influence, and it starts with five simple words.
Lead from within: To be a truly great leader—one with great influence—you must start from a place of respectful service. Remember that the words you choose contain power, and it’s up to you to choose the type of power you express.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockphotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.