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Leadership starts with influence. You can influence people through position, social status, skill or reputation, but that will only last so long. To increase and strengthen influence you have to touch people’s heart. Remember these important points:

– People rarely remember what you say. 

Have you ever felt like you’ve told your team the same thing over and over and they still don’t remember? Every leader struggles with this. It’s great for keeping humble and staying connected with our team.

– People sometimes remember what you do.

If you do something epic like bungee jump off a Jumbo Tron at the Super Bowl people will remember the deed, but over time they’ll forget who did it and why.

People always remember how you make them feel.

People learn in two ways. First, repetitive visual and auditory stimulations. Second, through intense emotional experiences. A person’s retention is 5 times greater through intense emotional experiences. If something you say or do impacts a person and moves them towards greater action which affects the outcome of their life, they will remember it forever, and your influence with that person will be deep.

You should always be looking for ways to create positive experiences, feelings, and outcomes for your team to solidify your influence and their connection with your organization. Here are 8 ways to do that starting today.

1. Begin your day by saying 25 things you’re thankful for

When you’re in the state of appreciation you cannot give in to fear, doubt and worry, which are killers of great leadership. You must be at rest in your heart before you can touch the heart of others. Giving thanks will put your heart in the right place.

2. When things go wrong look in the mirror and when things go well look at your team.

I’ve known (and worked for) too many leaders who take credit for other people’s work and pass blame when things don’t go well. It’s maddening. Instead you should share praise with your team, and take the brunt of the blame if things don’t go well. Let others give you credit and deflect blame. As the ancient proverb says, “Let another man praise you and not your own mouth, someone else and not your own lips.”

3. Listen with your face.

Listening is one of the toughest skills in the world. The number one desire of a human is to feel important and the number one fear is to look foolish. Listening well is a sure way to make someone feel important. Listening poorly is a sure way to make them feel foolish. Great listeners listen with their face and they don’t respond until the person is completely finished talking. Don’t be afraid of awkward silence if it’s to ensure the person has said all they need to say.

4. Be hearty in your approval and lavish with your praise

This is a Dale Carnegie principle. If a person does a good job, make a big darn deal about it. The average person only gets one encouraging word a week. Praise people genuinely for genuine things. Don’t falsely praise, but look for genuine reasons to praise people. Also, make sure you praise people the way they like it. Some people hate the spotlight, so praise them one-on-one or through a card, note, or email. Others love the spotlight so bang a gong or cymbal and let the world know what they’ve done.

5. Enjoy yourself

If you’re enjoying yourself others will enjoy themselves. A leader sets the tone and environment. If you’re a serious stick-in-the-mud, others will be stiff around you. If you keep it fun and loose others will too. It’s a scientific fact that relaxed muscles react better.

6. Set a daily goal and win

Each day get your team together and ask what a win would be for you. Two things unite people more than anything else–a common goal and a common enemy. Create daily goals for your team and go win as a team. Each time you win, take time to praise your team for a job well done and increase their belief on what can be accomplished if you work as one.

7. Don’t make a small deal a big deal

There are only 3-4 big deals in any given year. Too many leaders make big deals out of small deals. Big deals are things like losing your largest customer because of bankruptcy, acquiring and assimilating a new company into your culture, or losing a team member to a sickness, accident, or another reason. These require a lot of energy and time, as they should. Don’t give the same time and energy to things that don’t carry as much weight. I’ve seen far too many leaders waste valuable time making big deals out of small deals.

8. Slow down on your decision making

Leaders are evaluated by results. Pressure can cause leaders to make hasty, rash, and foolish decisions. Poor decisions can crush trust and influence on your team. Before making decisions take 2-3 minutes to think. Clear your mind. Ask yourself how the decision will affect your team, progress, profitability, etc. That extra 2-3 minutes could be the difference in 2-3 weeks, months, and years of opportunity loss because of poor decisions.

Jim Rohn said, “Change is simple, you pick a new destination and start going that way.” Each of these 8 things are simple, but they will only make a difference if you do them consistently. We are creatures of habit, so the more you practice these things the easier they will become. These things will increase your influence and will touch people’s hearts, so when you ask for a hand, they will give freely and heartily.

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