Influencing What’s Possible

When we succeed in changing someone’s mind, we shouldn’t only ask whether we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. We should also ask whether we’re proud of how we’ve achieved it.

–Adam Grant, Think Again

I read a story not long ago that explained the process of mining silver from the ground. It is commonly mixed with a number of other elements. In order to get pure silver that can be used for commercial purposes, it must be refined.

Silver has an extraordinarily high melting point. It must be heated to nearly 2,200 degrees in order to be refined to complete purity. Only when it has been through that process does the silver become useful for its intended function. Beautiful service pieces, high-tech equipment, and collectible coins all become possible once the silver has been refined. Without that process, it is largely worthless.

As a leader, you have the privilege of influencing what’s possible in the lives of those you lead and in the life of your organization. Just as silver goes through a refining process, so too do you as a leader have the opportunity to develop and influence those around you. It’s a tremendous responsibility.

So how might you use your influence in leadership? How do you know if you are doing it right? Here are a few questions to consider when contemplating the power of your influence.

Are my motives pure?

If your motives aren’t pure then your leadership isn’t either. Click To Tweet Your motives and influence as a leader not only should be pure but known to the people that you lead. Transparency is essential to your leadership and if you are looking out for the best interest of your people and your organization then your people should never have to question why you do what you do.

Am I secretly playing politics all while claiming to help?

It is the responsibility of the leader to be out front, cast vision, and lead the organization. Sometimes the lines can be blurred when you confuse the role of your leadership which looks out for everyone with playing politics which only looks out a few. One style will build your people and your organization while the other will tear it apart.

Am I pitting people against one another or bringing them together?

The answer to this question will determine the effectiveness of your leadership. It always has and it always will. The consequences of your motives and whether you play politics – unintended or not, have ramifications that come back to haunt you. Be honest with yourself when answering this question. If you are dividing your people rather than bringing them together, your people will eventually part ways with you.

Am I truly committed to seeing people grow and reach their full potential or am I holding them back?

When you are genuinely committed to the growth and development of your people you will in no way seek to hold them back or stand in their way. Click To Tweet You want to see people take their God-given talent and run with it. You want to influence what’s possible by unleashing all the possibilities in them.

Final Thoughts

Albert Schweitzer was right when he said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Your influence as a leader is only as credible as your example as a leader. If you want to have a positive influence as a leader, you must be honest with yourself and with your people.


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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