Are You Underestimating Your Impact?

The most effective leaders embrace an understanding that their everyday actions and behaviors can have a profound impact on the lives of others -- even though they realize they may not always know it at the time.  One of the simplest, but most important, truths about leadership is that what we say and do really does matter.

I am not just talking about leaders with formal “positional power," such as having direct supervisory authority over others in the workplace.  Some of the most effective leaders do not have formal authority but lead through “personal power.”  People are attracted to them and choose to follow no matter their role or title. Of course, those in a formal leadership role need personal power, too, as people cannot lead by title alone! 

Research shows that the actions of workplace leaders positively (or negatively) impact staff engagement, morale, and retention; client outcomes and customer satisfaction; and organizational success (including the bottom line).  While this might seem like a burden, it is also a great opportunity!  After all, isn’t a bottom line in life the quality of relationships and connections we have with others, how we touch and influence people, and how they touch and influence us?   This obviously applies to those closest to us – family and friends – but it is also relevant to interactions  with colleagues – and it does make a difference in workplace success.

In sum, don’t underestimate your impact!  Every person, and especially those in formal leadership roles, has an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives that can have a positive ripple effect throughout any business or organization.  In future posts, we will explore proven ways to make this happen in your life.

For further thought:  Reflect upon your work and recall examples of what you did or said that had either positive or negative impacts on the people you work with.  Consider how you might increase self-awareness and be more mindful of how your actions influence your colleagues.  What specific steps can you take to maximize future positive impacts?

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Douglass Teschner