Focus

New Skills of Influence 3.0 | EngagingLeader.com | Photo courtesy of Depositphotos (18937211).Managers and leaders get others to do what is needed. Engagers create conditions that energize everyone to achieve a shared purpose.

Managers and leaders work as the hub of a wheel. Engagers work as the rim of a wheel.

Managers and leaders see themselves as the magic. Engagers see the team as the magic.

The skills of traditional management (Influence 1.0) include recruitment, alignment, coaching, feedback, recognition, project planning, and problem-solving.

The skills of traditional leadership (Influence 2.0) include thinking strategically, making decisions, casting a vision and inspiring excitement about it, setting goals, and designing systems and structures to support the goals.

What are the new skills of engagership, otherwise known as Influence 3.0?

That’s the wrong question. Aren’t you glad I’m the one who asked it?

At least, it’s the wrong question to start with.

Engaging Thoughts

The better place to begin is this: How do engagers think differently?

It is not what leaders do, but what they think about, which creates a top-performing culture. Leaders who do precisely [the right actions] are not necessarily leading individuals and teams who are high performing. High performance can only be predicted for those leaders who are thinking a series of precise thoughts.” ~ David Burnham

I’ve talked before about what I call impact thinking.

At each of the action steps we’ll discuss below, engagers apply impact thinking, and as a result, stimulate those thought patterns in their team.

Engaging Cycle

To many people, the term “engage” sounds like a one-time action: getting people to pay attention for a while. However, engagership is a much deeper, ongoing process.

To other people, “engage” sounds like a narrow term about employees and their jobs, as in “employee engagement.” But engagership has broader implications, from families, to customers, to every area of life.

The skills of Influence 3.0 can be organized into a three-part cycle.

Skills of Influence 3.0 - Frame Facilitate Focus | EngagingLeader.com

  • Frame: engage the head (attention and attitude). Every thought and interaction begins with a frame of mind. The question is whether that frame is helpful. Unless someone intentionally creates it, the frame is often unfocused or even negative. Influence 3.0 involves being “first mover” to set the frame, or else re-setting an unhelpful frame to one that’s helpful. Sometimes it’s as simple as smiling at a person or asking a stimulating question; sometimes it’s as broad as launching a corporate brand.
  • Facilitate: engage the heart (passion and genius). Building on a helpful frame, Influence 3.0 stimulates dialogue, helps the team (or customer, family, etc.) identify mutual values and passions, and cultivates a collaborative definition of a shared purpose and long-term plans. If you’ve ever participated in a successful strategic planning session, you probably remember the energy, excitement, and sense of community as the team crafted a vision and plan they believed in. You may not remember any specifics about the facilitator herself,  but she helped the team harness its collective genius.
  • Focus: engage the hands (talent and energy). Human nature quickly causes people to lose focus, get distracted, and even forget the purpose altogether. Influence 3.0 requires constantly and creatively reminding, re-aligning, and re-focusing on the purpose … which necessities ongoing framing and facilitation as the team continually develops its shared purpose.

The bad news is most leaders either don’t understand or believe in Influence 3.0, or they believe they’re already doing it well. They are competent in their field, but technical competence is only about 10% of the equation. And even people who become very effective at Influence 3.0 can become ineffective, for many reasons for example, success can transform humility (an ingredient of Influence 3.0) into self-importance.

The good news is anyone can practice Influence 3.0 more effectively. You don’t need to earn an MBA, you don’t need to develop magnetic charisma, and you don’t even need a “manager” or “C-level” title.

Quick note: In my my free e-book, I provide 8 tools that can help you frame, facilitate, and focus.

This is the third post I’ve written with the invented word engagership. Do you think it helps advance the conversation, or is it just “cute”? Would a simpler term like “engage” or “engagement” be better, or does “engagership” help distinguish the concept from “engaging attention” and “employee engagement”? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Jesse Lahey, SPHR, is the host of the Engaging Leader podcast and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn. If you know anyone who would benefit from this information, please share it!

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You’ve probably heard that drowsy driving is just a dangerous (and perhaps more common) as drunk driving. You would never show up drunk to a business meeting; but are you showing up with insufficient sleep? If so, you probably appear to other people that you have a lower level of intelligence and executive presence.

 Are You Letting Sleep-Deprivation Sabotage Your Awesomeness? EngagingLeader.com. Photo courtesy of Depositphotos.com (7814223).

Recently one morning, in a client meeting, I noticed I was missing much of my normal energy and mental sharpness. I felt sluggish, and a bit fuzzy headed. I grabbed a cup of coffee and did my best to contribute the thinking and ideas our client needed from me.

That afternoon, I met with members of my team to work on a project for a different client. Again, I noticed my mind was running a bit slow, and I was easily distracted. I felt like a computer that’s bogged down with spyware. I sipped more coffee, but it wasn’t enough; I reached for a bowl of pretzels and snacked on them for the duration of the meeting.

The problem, of course, was I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before. And the whole experience was a bad flashback to my early 20s, when I routinely slept only 5 or 6 hours a night and occasionally pulled all-nighters because our work was so important. I relied on coffee, soda, and snacks to stay awake when I was in meetings, working at my desk, and driving my car.

I thought I performed “fine” this way, and perhaps I did. After all, I earned promotions. I received bonuses and raises. Clients loved me.

But in hindsight, I was not performing with the level of creativity, insight, and social intelligence that I could have been. My team, clients, and family weren’t seeing the real me. My impact could have been much more significant.

These days, I regularly get about 8 hours of sleep. In the summer, when I typically get more exercise and sunlight, I often feel fully charged after only 7 hours. In the winter and during times of stress, I seem to do better with close to 9 hours of sleep. If I can plan for it, I sometimes add a power nap after lunch.

As a result, now I almost never get sleepy behind the wheel. I almost never feel the need to have food at my desk. And I almost always feel fantastic about what I’ve contributed during a meeting, with clear feedback that I’ve helped the group get energized, get focused, and move forward.

Sleep Is the New Caffeine

Routinely getting enough sleep is a very wise investment. It pays off with benefits like these:

  • Greater mental focus (a key factor to executive presence)
  • Improved memory and judgement
  • Improved metabolism
  • Reduced calorie intake from attempts to overcome sleepiness using energy drinks, frappes, snacks, etc.
  • Fewer illnesses due to a stronger immune system
  • Reduced likelihood of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke
  • Reduce risk of anger, anxiety, and depression
  • Increased patience and graciousness with co-workers, customers, and family.

Tips for Getting Enough Zs

For information about how to get the right amount of sleep, a great resource is the National Sleep Foundation. Here are the tips that have made a big difference for me:

  • Wake up at roughly the same time every morning. According to the National Sleep Foundation, this strengthens the circadian function and helps get your body ready to sleep at night.
  • Follow a bedtime routine of at least 30 minutes to let your body and mind wind down. For me, this includes a relaxing book. In the 4 Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris recommends reading fiction before bed. I prefer biographies, because although I look forward to reading what happens next (which an incentive for me to get into bed), biographies are usually less stimulating to me than fiction. I’ve been known to stay up far into the night reading the latest Grisham novel, whereas I fall asleep within 5-10 minutes when reading about Rosa Parks or Winston Churchill.
  • Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed. Anything with a glowing screen can disrupt sleep rhythms and the release of the hormone melatonin. Worse, interactive screen time (work, email, Facebook, web research) stimulates your brain, making it much more likely that you’ll stay up later. One notable exception on the Amazon Paperwhite; I can read a book on it and still fall asleep within 5-10 minutes.
  • Avoid other stimulating activities, such as discussing work or family problems with your spouse.
  • Avoid snacks, drinks, and especially alcohol for the last 1-3 hours before bed, as they can prevent the deep sleep you need. You may need to start skipping caffeine even earlier, because it can take 6-8 hours for caffeine’s effects to wear off completely. Personally, I avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon.

When I was young, I thought I was gaining a competitive advantage by sleeping less so I could work more. As I became older and wiser, I realized that hours worked often don’t translate into results. Especially in the knowledge economy, a sharp, clear, creative mind is worth far more than a few extra hours of daily work.

Don’t sabotage your personal impact and your leadership presence – get sufficient sleep. And as you gain influence, teach this information to your team … and allow them the flexibility and boundaries to put it into action.

Jesse Lahey, SPHR, is the host of the Engaging Leader podcast, host of the Game Changer podcast series, and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.

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The Power of Focus

March 5, 2013

Setting more goals for your team means they will get more done, right? Wrong. Research has shown that communicating fewer priorities will actually make you more productive. Being laser-focused and consistent on just a few key goals or messages will inspire your team to achieve something big, rather than being diffused by many priorities and achieving none of […]

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