Opinion | Authentic impact | Michelle Crawford

Intention: Keep it real ... and effective.
Intention: Keep it real ... and effective.

Every time we open our mouths, every time we choose an action, every time we react badly or positively. Every single moment, of every single day, we are influencing others in some way.

I’m sitting in a cafe that I regularly visit. I’ve just noticed what must be a new guy working here, going around, checking in and asking people how they are. That’s so uncommon in this cafe and more broadly across the industry. People are responding positively to this, and no doubt they will remember him when they leave the cafe. There’s a good chance they will come back because of this treatment. He has had an influence on me, by me deciding to use his behaviour as an example.

The most fascinating thing about influencing is how we do it by default (due to our automatic programming) whether it is intentional or not.  In a leadership role or position we are formally engaged because of our ability to influence others. People around us are impacted by what we say and do minute by minute. It is our job and our responsibility to lead people through influencing them from point A to point B. The trick is to influence with authenticity.

There’s nothing worse than when someone is obviously practising something that they’ve been told to say and they don’t believe it – this can cause more questions and concerns than what existed previously. An individual’s ability to be truly authentic increases influence substantially.

In workplaces every day we are influencing each other: to use this IT system; to buy this product; to follow this procedure; to have this conversation; to ensure that this employee does something a certain way; to make sure that the safety people are listened to and their procedures followed in detail.

What we often miss is the intent we have when we are influencing. We will influence one way or they other. It makes sense to choose to have a positive intention about our influencing. Once we choose to be positive, we then check in about our authenticity. This more authentic and positive intentions of influencing will dramatically increase your influencing effectiveness. The best part is you will feel totally comfortable because it will be your authentic behaviour.

PS:  I have been trying to influence you the whole of this article, did you know, did you see it? My goal was to get you to read to the end.  Did my influencing work?

Michelle Crawford is the founder of Newcastle-based human resources firm Being More Human