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Influence Like Pope Francis

Categories: Influence Without Authority

Whether our office (and title) resides on the C level or not, influencing is an integral part of our daily lives and perhaps more importantly, our careers.

It has been my experience, that no matter what your title or circumstance, you have the power to influence those around you in a negative or positive way.

Because we are all familiar with him, let’s take a look at one famous face who recently bestowed his influence on the people of the United States.

Pope Francis recently visited the U.S. for the first time and was welcomed with fanfare more often associated with a rock star than the leader of the Catholic Church. It was clear by the throngs that showed up in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC that the pontiff is adored by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

How does his influence cross the religious and cultural divide, you may ask – he’s likable! Pope Francis is optimistic, humble and inclusive -- positioning himself as an agent of change at a time when the world is in desperate need of one.

During his tour of the Northeast, the Pope often asked security to bring children from the crowd to him, or requested that his driver stop the car so he could visit with those who had waited. The thing about Pope Francis is that while he holds the highest position in the Catholic Church, we seem to relate to him as just a regular guy. While many in his position would ride in a limo or a dark SUV, Francis decided on a small Fiat. He has been recognized for deliberately choosing simpler clothes than those that came before him including the everyday black shoes that conflict with his otherwise all white garb.

As evidenced by the above, we know that Pope Francis is likable, he goes out of his way for others, and he makes himself relatable – not only do many like him, but they feel like they can relate to him.

Does Pope Francis exhibit any of the other traits of influence? Does he have strong relationships? is he an expert in the field? And finally, does he inspire others? Read through the list below and let me know what you think!

Likability. We all want to talk to — and work with — people we actually like. Develop your likeability by going out of your way to listen to people, to ask their opinions, and to be interested in them. Mind your manners. One incidence of rudeness can be enough to undermine your authority for a long time.

Strong relationships. That old saying still holds true in many cases: It’s not what you know but who you know. Do you have a solid network of advocates and supporters, both within and outside of your company?

Expertise. Do you really know your stuff? Are you one of the best in your field? Do you stay abreast of the latest developments in your area of expertise, and are you meticulous in how you implement projects and ideas? These behavioral attributes command respect, and respect equals influence.

Inspiration. If you don’t have the title to demand compliance or action, you’ll have to inspire others to want to do what you want. Achieve this by asking for what you need, discussing expectations, thanking people publicly for their contributions, offering to help them, being a true team player, and being genuine.

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