It Starts With You: Leading with Influence

January 3, 2020 by Dana J. Murn, CAE

"If you ever want to be a great leader of other people, you must first be a really great leader of yourself." ~Justin Patton, Certified Professional Coach

At some point we all get busy in life, often we sacrifice the people we love the most for our career, or we put the results of our practice before the people who help us drive those very results. It is in these moments we have the opportunity to slow down, self-assess, and make the choice to lead and communicate better in both our personal and professional lives. In order to live up to our potential, it is often necessary to grow emotional intelligence and practice eight simple steps to leading and communicating with stronger influence. 

1. Take ownership of your emotions

Everywhere you go, you leave an emotional imprint on other people. "Emotional wake" refers to the psychological ripples you leave on other people. Being aware of your emotional wake and how your emotional responses affect other people is the first step toward becoming an effective leader.

2. Manage your leadership credibility 

Your credibility is based on three main factors: Image, competence, and character. Do you look like you fit in? Do you have the smarts to do your job? And do you act in a way that lifts other people up? Do a daily check in with yourself to be sure you are managing these three elements of leadership credibility. 

3. Keep your ego in check

Ego is a fear-based thought that pulls us out of the truth of who we really are. When it comes to ego, it shows up in self-doubt or feeling like a victim, or on the other extreme, overconfidence or bravado. Either way, ego always pulls us into an extreme version of who we are, which keeps us stuck and playing smaller than our potential.

4. Take responsibility for your energy

Energy is the mindset and the presence you show up with every day. There are three energy levels we show up in every day: Level 1 (the basement), Level 2 (the lobby), and Level 3 (the penthouse). Based upon the events of our lives, we can move in between any of these three levels many times throughout the course of just one day. Taking stock and owning our energy level is key to shaping your life and relationships and the impact you make as a leader.

5. Make your presence count

There are three factors to your executive presence: Appearance (how you look), communication (how you speak), and gravitas (how you act as a leader). Be responsible for your executive presence by paying attention to how you look, speak, and act each and every day.

6. Communicate with confidence 

Most leaders have no clue what their body language is saying.  The more confident you appear, the more competent others think you are. Understanding how to use your body language to communicate will allow you to appear more confident, and thus, more competent. 

7. Communicate with trust

There is a time to be confident and powerful, but there is also a time to be empathetic and collaborative. Body language can also be used to create empathy and connection with others. From leaning in to maintaining eye contact, to tilting and nodding our head, it is important to be aware of and practice key gestures that create connection with colleagues and patients.

8. Refuse to drown quietly

Ask for help when you need it. Don't wait to ask for help. Learn to delegate. Learn to let go. Effective leaders don't go it alone. If you want to be a great leader of yourself, be sure you don't drown quietly without asking for help.


For the full scoop on becoming a more effective leader, view It Starts With You: 8 Steps to Leading with Stronger Awareness and Influence now. Taught by international speaker and executive leadership coach Justin Patton, this course will delve deep into the eight steps with actionable strategies you can implement today. To become an AACD member and have exclusive access to this full course, click here.




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