Leadership routinely transforms the howensuring it gets us consistently to the where. How we reach our goals matter, but whoa is it easier when your partnerships are less transactional and more relational.
If a technology leader has one goal, it should be to continuously show value by directly and positively impacting whole-business outcomes. Not interested in forward-movement within ‘the everything’? By all means, don’t waste time building relationships. But, if as a technology leader the future path includes continuous improvement, scalability and sustainability, you won’t get there without going there and cultivating influence.
Our world is saturated with books on leadership. Of course gathering knowledge widens the mind and hands on experience definitely matters. However, true next-level leadership value comes at levels deeper than book-reading and a history of work. It’s in the experiences, the relationships, the ability to connect.
Influence relies on authentic, reciprocal, reliable relationships; beyond old school greasing the wheels. And it’s in those relationships that richer experiences develop.
In addition, influence delivers more sustainable outcomes. If something goes right, confidence is built. If something goes wrong, the result can branch. Without influence, mistakes sour the experience. With influence, mistakes build confidence as accountability introduces itself into the relationship. And so on.
For those who struggle with relationship building, who think it’s fluff and soft leadership, cultivating influence can be exhausting as it requires follow-through, follow-up and near-continuous feedback loops.
In addition, influence as support for success requires persistence. And real-ness. A relationship partner sees, hears, feels when their counterpart isn’t truly present. Once an inauthentic relationship is unearthed, it’s difficult to rebuild. That may be fine for those with short-term goals, but if you’re looking to extend your impact but question your self-awareness in the likability space? Find a mentor to help you beat you – it can be done, but you need to make it a priority.
The rewards for prioritizing influence are endless. Progress, growth, deeper understanding and longevity. Human beings want to help those who are engaged and connected. Rapid improvement is simpler with prior insight and knowledge.
Once you experience one win thanks to a solid relationship, the next wins come easier and easier.
Ultimately, the stepping stone of influence has no boundary.
When influence is not a priority
The evolution of technology leadership continues to deliver us to a more transparent, user-centric, experiential, collaborative space.
In the dark ages of Oz Wizard leadership – the days of ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ – influence was unimaginable as technology was delivered with the collaboration of a toilet drain. Feeds and speeds, keep things running, manual processes.
Today’s technology expectations are wildly different.
Without influence, what are you delivering and to whom? Without influence and reciprocal relationships, the assumption is that the leader knows best? Today, the tech leader knows nothing without the input of the users’ needs, business, opportunities for efficiency and streamlined work.
Technology is more than basic delivery today. Technology is the underpinning of goals met, revenues generated, services delivered, the way the consumer feels about the business, staff retention, all the things. Basically, the more you know, the more you know. And every square inch of progress beyond what you know is streamlined by influence.
If you’re not already, now is the time to prioritize it.