It was only my third day on the job and an incident occurred that resulted in a negative impact on a customer and at face value the error seemed to fall directly on my team. I was called into an office and addressed by the client who was in charge of the contractual relationship with my company. The client was visibly irritated and understandably so. At this stage in the process, all we knew for sure was an event had occurred that resulted in a negative customer impact, and this information was coming from a second hand source. As I mentioned previously our standing was not on ‘solid ground’ with this specific client so we didn’t have a ton of good will stored up in the vault to draw on at this moment.
The client opened up the dialogue reminding me of the complete massive failure of all our services since the inception of the contract, and continued by elaborating that they were no longer willing to defend our company or our services to other executives within the organization. Finally, they ended the rather short, spirited monologue with a profanity laced threat. What a great way to start my third day of work overseeing a brand new region, in a new state, while enjoying the comforts of an empty hotel room hundreds of miles away from family and anything familiar!
I’m reminded again of John Maxwell’s definition of leadership (that I quote often) which says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”
Influence is something that we grant to others whether consciously or subconsciously. We have a choice to allow influencers into our lives.
If you think about that in terms of leadership (defined as influence), you make a choice to allow managers, bosses, parents, family members, friends, mentors, and so on to become leaders in your life. Just because someone (or something) is a part of your life by default, doesn’t mean you’ve granted them,or it permission to be a leader in your life.
I never granted that client a position of leadership in my life. I still had to follow protocol and honor the organizational role that the individual filled, and I was glad to do so, but they were never my leader in any way shape or form, at any moment in time.
Take a moment and think about your influence on those around you. Are your actions and behaviors resulting in others around you granting a higher level of influence in their lives? How about in your workplace? How about in your home?
Have you ever thought about the fact that your own family may not grant you a position of influence or leadership? Is that even important to you?
Spend a few moments and consider how you can position yourself as a person of influence to those closest to you in your personal and professional lives.