Increasing Your Dependability: The Key to Trust and Confidence

In my new book that is in the works even as I write this blog, I cover five non-negotiable characteristics that organizations seek. 

Here is the first:

Characteristic #1: Hard Working = Smart Working

At the top of the hard working list is dependability. People who take ownership of all aspects of their job are the people who not only have a clear vision of what is expected, but also look further to see what more needs to be or could be done.

I want to drill down into the concept of dependability.

Do You Influence or Are You Influential?

We have for too long now believed that influence is the practice of what we “do” to people. We persuade them. We negotiate with them. We manipulate them. We intimidate them. We coerce them. We feel if we get them to do what we want, we are influential.

However, these are external actions. While they may influence others, they don’t make us, at the core, influencers. 

The goal of every leader is to be influential, not by merely using tactics but as an expression of who they actually are.   The good news is that real influence - being influential - can be cultivated, learned, and enhanced. Essentially, becoming influential is a process.

Setting Monuments and Milestones on Journey

In both ancient and modern cultures, leaders set up monuments to commemorate a historical happening.

Wikipedia defines it well: A monument is a type of structure that was explicitly created to commemorate a person or event, or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or as an example of historic architecture.

Sometimes these were tied to a victory, a death, or a religious experience.

Many cultures also used milestones along the road to allow travelers to note the distance they had traveled since there were no odometers on their sandals or horses. These were kind of mini-monuments along the journey to remind the traveller of progress.

So what does this have to do with you as a leader, the student, the employee or the parent?

Our Top 5 Most Read Articles on Influence

In the spirit of the holidays and wrapping up your year, I wanted to give you a glimpse of our 5 Most Read Articles of 2016. Each of these articles has proven to be valuable to growing your influence. We’ll start the drumroll and count down from five to one based on the number of readers. 

How To Stop Lying: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Three

In our first article in the series, we learned how we ever so subtly try to maneuver the truth (or simply tell a bold-faced lie).

The second article provided the reasons why we are motivated to stop short of the full truth.

In our final article in the series, we’ll learn how to stop lying and how to start being truth tellers. I’ve included the summary reason why we are tempted to lie along with realizations that help us not succumb.

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Two

In our previous article, we looked at how we lie. Sometimes is not outright or bold-faced, but a subtle maneuvering of the truth, which is still a lie. Today, we shift to the root reasons of WHY we lie.

Why We Lie: The Main Reason

The main reason we lie comes down to a single word: FEAR!

We are afraid that the truth will damage us, our cause, or our case in some unfavorable way, so we exchange the truth for a lie.  Fear is one of the greatest motivators of all time. (Note, I am not saying it is a positive motivator, simply a powerful motivator). Fear drives us to do irrational things.

One author states, “In short, fear is a motivating force arising from the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it.”

Lying is typically a flight mechanism attached to fear. We don’t like what is presenting itself, and so we attempt to manipulate the truth for our own protection or gain. 

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part One

The story is told of a country store owner who was in the back of his store. He saw his young clerk at the front talking to a customer. He was horrified as he heard the young man tell the woman, “No, ma’am we don’t have any of that and looks like we won’t for quite a while.”

The store owner ran to the front frantically and blurted out, “Yes, we have it on order, and it’ll be here next week. Don’t you worry about it.”

As soon as the woman left, the owner reprimanded the clerk. “Don’t you EVER tell a customer that again. You have to cover up the fact that we are out of it with the statement that it’s on its way, even if you know it’s not on order.”

“Yes sir,” dutifully responded the young clerk.

“By the way, what was she wanting?” asked the store owner.

“Rain,” responded the clerk.

Telling a small or large lie has become second nature to many of us. We are even encouraged by our superiors or co-workers to stretch the truth. While lying may serve to offer a short-term relief, it ultimately breaks long-term trust, something that is much more problematic than a short-term problem fix. As one of the Seven Influence Traits™, lowering our trustability lowers our integrity AND our ability to influence.

We don’t often see that we are lying because we simply maneuver the truth, obscuring areas we don’t want uncovered.

How to Coach Confidence in the 21st Century Leader

Part One in our series on Coaching Leaders.

Confidence is foundational to leadership and influence when coaching leaders, but it is the one characteristic that is truly lacking in many emerging leaders. I see some leaders exhibit bravado and false self-confidence, but have a lack of true confidence when the tough decisions arise. Let’s turn to the topic of how we grow confidence in others. This is an important role of any coach, consultant, or leader.

How Influence Affects Executive Leadership and Organizational Competency: Understanding the Role of the Seven Influence Traits

The Ability to Influence Others is THE Key Measure of Executive Ability.

If you are an executive or provide executive coaching, you know the executive role requires moving to a new level of leadership. The executive must stop merely doing the needed tasks at hand and shift to overseeing and leading those who must actually do these tasks. Whereas once the aptitude to do the task was most important, now the successful executive must be able to influence others to accomplish what is needed. In fact, doing the actual tasks can be one of the worst expenditures of time and energy an executive can spend. In this way, influence is KEY to growing as an executive.

But How Do We Measure and Grow an Executive’s Ability to Influence Others?

For years, we had to measure influence aptitudes by gut and anecdotal observation. As a student of influence, I have spent 20 years of my life working to change this. The Karen Keller Institute was created for this purpose. In our research, we were able to determine seven key traits that compose influence, and the degree in which each trait is developed provided an objective view of one’s influence abilities, which  we call the Seven Influence Traits™. We then set about to create the first, scientifically-backed test to measure one’s ability to influence others. Pioneered at Clemson University’s prestigious business graduate school, this instrument is called the Keller Influence Indicator® (or KII®).

With the KII®, executives and executive coaches may now establish a clear, numeric benchmark measurement of a person’s ability to exert influence. The KII is dynamic, allowing it to provide a real time measurement; therefore, one’s increased abilities to influence could be measured and tracked over time. 

Servant Leadership and The Seven Influence Traits: Part Three

Through examining how servant leadership is tied to each of the Keller Seven Influence Traits® and strengthening each of these traits, a crucial step will be taken in creating a healthy culture of servant leaders.


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