Mary Foley | Increasing Career Confidence in Busy YOU!

The Power of Influence: I’ll Have What She’s Having

Jennifer Ledet - croppedBy Jennifer Ledet

If you have ever wanted to be like an older sister or brother, longed to have hair like Beyonce or Lady Gaga, or were inspired to perform well in athletics by a coach, then you have experienced influence.

You and I use influence and are subject to influence every day. You use influence with your spouse in choosing a vacation spot, you influence your son to clean up his room, (although, let’s be honest, that often comes down to commanding and cajoling, but that’s another story), you influence team members to help you on a project.

And of course, we are all subject to influence in our buying decisions. We watch television commercials featuring prominent athletes, actors, musicians, and other celebrities touting the value of merchandise. We are influenced to buy certain products by observing what we perceive to be the benefits others enjoy from use of the product.

You may remember the famous delicatessen scene from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, where another diner says “I’ll have what she’s having”, based on her perception of Sally’s “enjoyment” of her meal.

Influence can be one of the biggest game-changers in our careers, and yet most people don't begin to scratch the surface of their potential to influence. Our ability to be influential - particularly for leaders - lies dormant while we coerce, beg, demand, intimidate, and persuade others to do what we need them to do.

Merriam Webster defines influence as “the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.” Thus, influence is NOT the same thing as manipulation or control. Influence is much more subtle.

So how are you doing with influencing your team to produce, perform, and serve your customers?

Sure, you can simply demand that they do all those things. You’re the boss, after all, and what you say goes. But in case you haven’t heard, the old “Command and Control” approach to leadership shuffled off to Buffalo a few years back. As a result, your job is just a tad bit more complicated. Throwing your weight/title around and slinging commands nowadays might just get you a bunch of open positions when people laugh as they walk out the door.

Your approach must be more subtle than that. Your goal is to cause people to want to perform. It’s about tapping into their innate motivations. Remember the definition of influence says that you do so without any “direct exercise of command”.

So how can you become more influential with your team members? Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Walk your talk. Albert Schweitzer said “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” People will follow your actions and behaviors more than they will follow your words, commands, or nagging.
  • Tell Stories. But, you might argue, business communication must be logical, linear, and objective, right? Au contraire, mon amie! If you want to inspire, engage, and influence others, aim to stir their emotions and spark a desire to take action. Remember, “Words tell; emotions sell.”
  • Invest in relationships. Get to know the members of your team – beyond the work environment. Find out what is important to her, what motivates him, etc.
  • Keep it real. Be authentic. Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t in an attempt to influence someone. People can spot a phony baloney a mile away and you certainly won’t influence anyone by being fake.
  • Do more asking and less telling. Ask team members for their input, suggestions, and feedback. You might be surprised at the valuable insights you receive.
  • Do more listening and less talking. This technique is one I, (aka “Chatty Cathy”) work on constantly. It is a skill that, once developed can be so powerful and it is the primary approach that I use in my work coaching leaders and execs.

I humbly admit, I have not mastered these practices, but work on them daily. What are some tips and suggestions for developing my influence that you would add to his list?

One thing’s for sure, your influence as a leader can have a cascading effect with others within your organization. Your influence can go viral. You can start a trend, a wave of enthusiasm, a wildfire that will catch on, where people will be saying “I’ll have what she’s having.”

About Jennifer Ledet

Jennifer Ledet works with leaders from the C Suite to the Front Line who want to improve engagement, teamwork, and communication within their teams to impact the bottom line. She is the author of Lead, Follow, or Get Me the Hot Sauce! Cajun Wisdom to Spice Up Your Leadership.      Go to for more info and to receive the (FREE!) report The Top Five Ways Leaders Shoot Themselves in the Foot. While there join in our blog!

How Do I Exude Confidence in Unfamiliar Territory?

When you’ve been doing your current role or position for a while, it’s easy to feel confident. You know what you’re doing!

But when you want to shift your career, aspire to a new position, or take on anything new, it’s easy for your confidence to be shaken. So not a fun feeling, which is why Victoria asked me:

How do I exude confidence from within and

overcome fear when in unfamiliar territory?

These days it’s hard to avoid being in unfamiliar territory!

Does that mean you have to totally lose your confidence until you gain that new knowledge in an unfamiliar territory? Not when you make a key internal shift.

Watch this quick video to see what that shift is and my 2 ideas to overcome your fears in the process:

Confidence in unfamiliar territory with border and button

Have a quick question of your own? Share it with me here and be on the lookout for my response in the next episode of Gotta Quick Question!

How Can I Prove I’m Valuable When Virtual?

Are you working virtually some or most of the time, be it at home, at a satellite office, or on the road? If so, then you can totally relate to Gloria who asked me:

How can I prove I’m valuable to higher-ups when I’m virtual and not a visible part of a face-to-face team?

The good news is that marketing your value is the similar whether you’re virtual or face-to-face. The key lies in answering the question “So what?”

Watch this quick video where I share specific ways you can proactively answer this question so that your manager and higher-ups will never forget the value you bring.

Valuable when virtual with button and border


Have a quick question of your own? Share it with me here and be on the lookout for my response in the next episode of Gotta Quick Question!