July 20, 2021

When are we Influencing Others?

This thought comes from some gracious and caring feedback I receieved upon my exit from my former Employer. Which, by the way, was a pleasant experience for me. 

First lets start with the background: I have a ravenous appetite for feedback and for a very long time, I was solely focused on critical or negative feedback. And it was brought to my attention that embracing positive feedback would enable me to better serve others just as much as the critical feedback. 

This triggered an exploration of what positive feedback, exactly, am I seeking. So I generated a list of questions specifically designed to reveal the "good stuff" I was doing that I may be unaware of.

This may be a little foggy so here goes a bit more detail. There are several planned and calculated things I do for the purpose of keeping folks engaged and enhancing an experience. These things Ive learned through reading, observations and a whole lot of my own Missteps. Now there are a whole bunch of people out there that deploy the same techniques whom also serve / interact with the same audiences on the same subject mater. And members of these shared audiences would comment about preferring the experience we shared together. Now, when I asked what the difference was the answers I would get were less than actionable. Stuff like "it was fun" "your just different" etc. while this feedback deffinately fed my ego it still left me wondering.

Back to the list of specific questions, of which you are only getting one today :-) mostly because I want to be responsible with your time and a little because I want you to come back for the rest :-)

So time for the reveal, one of the questions on the list is:

- What are some ways my style has influenced you?

One of the responses was:

- "You are very good with connection and making that deliberate effort - I could use more of that in my style - and need to make that effort myself. Your positivity is also contagious and I have believed in that for the last 10 years and try to exhibit it myself. Seeing it come from you to me and how that makes me feel makes me believe in that "style" even more."

It is important to note the source of this feedback is an AMAZING Woman with enormous responsibility and influence. This is important because my responsibility was no where near the magnitude of hers and still my behavior influenced her in a positive manner. Im gonna make an inference here but I think she may have doubted being positive and deliberate in connecting with people, particularly because our Industry is largely authoritative , and our interaction seems to have been an affirming experience for her.

So the take away for me is every interaction is an opportunity to influence someone regardless of their status or position on an org chart. And we must be responsible with that. 

Also, Im starting to see that its OK for me to be me