May 18, 2009 Chris Fuller

Increasing your Influence through owning your position.

This week, I’m in Georgia facilitating a session on increasing your influence. It dove tails right in with what we talked about on Friday when we talked about owning your role in the organizations vision.

Your influence can be increased as a leader. I’ve said it a thousand times, after learning it from John Maxwell, “Leadership is Influence!” There are different ways to increase your influence within your organization – none any more potent than playing your existing position well. Now, if you know you’re in the wrong position – I would recommend a move as quickly as possible – otherwise play your position to the best of your ability and shine – right where you are.

So, over the next few days – let’s talk about the roles in the “Sled Team” and which you can “own”.

Today, let’s unpack the role of the Lead Dog – and if you’re a Lead Dog we’ll look at a couple of ideas on how to play that role better.

The role of the Lead Dog is to: find the trail (right path), set the pace, set the tone, and be in tune with the musher. This is a position where natural performers gravitate toward. They love being out front and, many times, they run ahead of the pack because it’s their natural pace.

(Hint: if you think you’re a lead dog and others are passing you, you might not be in the right position)

So, how do you play your role well and what are some thoughts to consider?

#1. Know your Musher (Leader). There is no way to effectively increase your influence with your leader and to pull in the right direction without knowing which direction he thinks is right.

#2. Continually hone your skill to find the right path, quickly. It takes effort and intention to stay out front. Without an intentional plan to grow, learn, and improve – you won’t stay out front for long.

#3. Model the behavior that sets the tone for the team. Since the team will be following your lead, make sure your lead is worthy of being followed. Work ethic and attitude are first and foremost. Maintain your leadership, not only in production, but also in setting the atmosphere of a positive attitude.

#4. Pull a little harder than the rest of the team. If you pull a tremendous amount more, you can where yourself out – know the rest of your teammates and pull to the point that others will be inspired to pull harder. Sometimes it will feel like you’re dragging the rest of the team – that’s natural for a ‘Lead Dog’ to feel – but to produce maximum results with the team – set the pace for them 10 – 20% above – not 200% above.

Just a couple of quick thoughts – Lead Dogs are a vital part of every organization – your production will naturally cause you Leader to listen to you – to have influence with them. Just make sure that you pull in the right direction, with the right attitude, and continue to improve – to keep your position of leadership influence!

Lead Dogs! Lead on!

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