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In today’s marketplace, a good and effective leader has a positive influence with his or her people. We all know this is not easy—not for the faint of heart. We all may have the title, but do we have the influence? How much do we have? And, does our influence have a positive or a negative impact? Here are the key things to examine and work on to build our influence and ability to attract and keep an “all-in” sales force, team or staff.

Are you leading or just managing?
They are not the same thing. Managing is authoritative, controlling and based on fear, compliance and keeping the status quo intact. Now, don’t get me wrong—managing is necessary for systems and structures and processes. But when we are dealing with people (and that is our No. 1 priority), people do not want to be managed; they want to be led. Leaders give hope, a clear direction, and a path to follow. They believe in the abilities of their people. Leaders are accessible—with professional boundaries. They lift people up, enrich their lives, and hold them accountable. Leaders have tremendous influence and a following.

If you currently find yourself in the “manager” category more than the leader category, hit the reset button. Make an effort to get together with your team either one-on-one or in groups to focus on them and learn more about their goals and challenges, and how you and the company can help them. Make them feel important and listen to their concerns. Let them know they are a valued member of your organization. You’ve now begun a respectful and open conversation that benefits everyone involved.

Your agents are always watching you.
Have you heard the expression “I can’t hear you for your actions”? Leaders with good influence set the tone and expectations in their environment, and they follow through with their feet once they’ve communicated their vision and company goals. Bottom line: Live what you teach. If you are talking to them about being consistent with good habits in their business, make sure you are consistently closing your door and focusing on the lead-generation activities to grow your office.

Trust is the key factor to influencing others positively. The only way to earn trust is to be a person of integrity. Be open and honest. Admit mistakes: You are not perfect; don’t expect perfection from others. Be reliable. The little things matter. Do what you say; say what you do. Serve others. Be consistent in living out your guiding principles, especially when people are not watching. Be the model and everyone benefits from your passion, productivity and purpose!

People follow the path of strongest conviction.
You’ve got to be surer of your stuff than they are of theirs. Be clear about your expectations of what it takes to excel in your environment. Hold them accountable to these expectations. Always extend grace if a mistake is made, and help them figure out how to solve any problems. And, instead of worrying about getting them to think more highly of you, get them to think more highly of themselves. Challenge them in their limited thinking about what they can actually do. Help them to push and grow. Believe in them. Tell them you do. Difficulty does not defeat people; lack of faith in themselves does.

When you are a catalyst in helping to build someone’s self-worth, it will also improve their business, their relationships, and their overall quality of life.

In our industry today, people are looking for a mission they can be a part of and an environment where someone is proactively setting the tone and pace for goals and activities to be achieved where everybody wins. When you lead with encouragement and accountability, and they can see you living by your convictions, they will follow you and they will help you grow.

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