A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend about influence (actually wrote a quick thought about it on this blog).
Our talk was specifically about influence and responsibility – how is not defined by the other – and that the two are not equal. Simply because you have been relegated a responsibility within an organization does not equate to influence within the same organization. Responsibility is important. Without the accountability for what we are responsible for accomplishing our jobs would be devalued.
Influence is so much more than responsibility. Influence by definition (dictionary.com):
the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others: He used family influence to get the contract.
the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: Her mother’s influence made her stay.
a person or thing that exerts influence: He is an influence for the good.
Is your influence expanding or shrinking? One of my biggest strengths over the years has been my sphere of influence. What I have observed is my influence is sometimes diminished depending on how I am viewed in an organization.
Is it better to have a larger role within an organization with less influence? Or should one use the strengths you have and exert your influence?
The conversation with my friend may have helped both of us with the answers. I tend to believe that if your influence is shrinking then something may not be right. Our ability to influence for good is far more important than our organizational status! And on top of that it’s important to remember that our circumstances don’t define who we really are!