The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

June 22, 2011

Anthony Weiner & The Boss’s Influence

By Steve Motenko

Yes of course I’m going to mention Anthony Weiner in my High Horse today.  What kind of talk show host would I be if I didn’t?  But you’ll have to wait.  The theme of the show, after all, is bosses, and working with bosses.  I promise, I will make a logical  connection with the Weiner.

If you held a gun to my head and requested a one-word answer to what leadership is all about?  I’d say … influence. If you have any influence on another human being, you’re a leader, like it or not.  And the more influence you have, the more successful a leader you are.  Obvious, right?

In today’s show we’ve got strategies to offer you to become a better leader, a more successful influencer – strategies that come from Plank 7 in our book Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. And we invite you to call or write us with some strategies of your own.  But none of these strategies will work unless you set them in the context of the Most Important Thing.  The Most Important Thing? It’s not what you do, or how you do it.  It’s Who You Are.

In the groundbreaking book Fierce Conversations, author Susan Scott says there is no viable separation of our personal and professional lives. “We are ourselves all over the place, and it is our real self that is experienced at a deeply personal level by everyone on the receiving end of us, whether we acknowledge it or not.”  Who are you, all over the place? …

We’ve gotten some pretty nasty insights in the last couple weeks into who Anthony Weiner is – a man previously considered to have gobs of influence.  Suddenly, because Who He Is now shows up in a tragically comic way, his ability to influence is stripped down to nothing — pun intended.

So as we discuss strategies for wielding influence – strategies which, by the way, can apply to bosses and bossees alike – remember that the limiting factor on how well these strategies work is  “who you are.”

As I ride this week’s high horse into the sunset, let me suggest four simple guidelines for the “who you are” piece:   Authenticity, openness, ethicality, and commitment to a cause larger than you.

Now each of these four qualities is useless on its own.  Like threads in a tapestry, they are inextricable one from another.  Anthony Weiner proved himself, in at least one way, to be open.  But open, without ethical, does not a leader make.  Hitler was committed to a cause larger than himself:  the supremacy of the Aryan race.  But that commitment, minus the ethical, made him worse than dangerous.  You get the idea.

Authentic, open, ethical, and committed to a cause larger than you.  How would you measure yourself on those four scales?  In that measurement lies the true assessment of your leadership capacity – your capacity to influence.

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About the Author

Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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