I want you to think of a person with Authentic Influence. Who comes to mind? Why?
It probably has a lot to do with their character. My mantra for influence: Influence is more about how you live than what you do. Becoming influential is more about how you show up, engage and interact with people in authentic ways and less about simply persuading someone.
For me, an iconic example of authentic influence is Queen Elizabeth II. Much admired, she was a queen of great influence around the world. So much of that influence was embodied in her authenticity.
What are the characteristics of Authentic Influence? What can we learn from the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Characteristics of Authentic Influence
In my research for writing the Influence in Talent Development book, I found that three characteristics are key to authentic influence:
- Genuine motives
Let’s take a look at each of these.
Genuine Motives – When influence is most effective, your motives, or reasons for your actions, are genuine and sincere. Your motives do not just selfishly benefit your personal agenda. Queen Elizabeth II committed herself to a life of service, sacrificing so much personally. Her actions, though not always popular or even perfect, were what she believed was in the best interest of the United Kingdom.
Humility – Humility demonstrates that you don’t attempt to influence from a place of superiority. However, you do have inner confidence, and portray that confidence in a humble manner. You engage others win such a way that shows concern for their needs, respects their ideals, and creates space for them to shine. Your focus on your purpose, your ‘why’, is what grounds you. Queen Elizabeth II exhibited great humility throughout her life.
Consistency – Authenticity is also demonstrated through your consistency in words and behavior from one interaction to another. Think about the people you work with or those in your personal circle. Consistency helps you feel like you know the person, you know what to expect. You, therefore, know how to engage and interact with them. Trust builds when you are consistent.
Over her 70 year reign, Queen Elizabeth II was a pillar among world leaders. In his Wall Street Journal op-ed shortly following her death, Pulitzer Prize winning editor, Daniel Henninger noted, “Within the hour of her death, Queen Elizabeth II was praised by commentators from left to right for representing so many traditional values. Reserve, self-containment, duty, responsibility, modesty of demeanor, graciousness, civility, prudence, fortitude.”
The admiration and respect enjoyed by this extraordinary leader is often rare in the workplace, but not impossible and should be what we aspire to. I’m not talking about admiration in a selfish way, but earning mutual admiration and respect.
Queen Elizabeth II set an example for us. I am so grateful and honor her for this gift. What have you learned about authentic influence from her life? What will you do with it?