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Success Advice

The Key to Success: Understanding and Constructively Using Our Influence



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All humans strive for success, although not all of us think about success in the same way. Yes, there are many stereotypical views of success and sometimes these views can get in the way of individuals realizing that they actually have already achieved it.

In my experience, success is a result of understanding and using our individual influence in a positive way. Leaders understand that it’s not the control they have over others that makes them successful, but it’s their ability to positively influence others to accomplish goals and develop as human beings. 

To achieve the kind of success that allows us to be a positive influence for ourselves and our teams, consider these tips: 

1. Slow down

One of the most important habits successful individuals cultivate is the ability to slow down. Slowing down allows us to become more aware — more mindful — of our thoughts, words, decisions, actions, and reactions, which all define our influence. It allows us to become fully aware of our environment. 

2. Listen to learn

When we give ourselves the opportunity to listen, we ensure that we’re truly present for the conversation and we are able to listen to learn. Listening to learn can enhance our objectivity, empathy, and ability to accept that not everyone has the same opinions or perceptions as us. In doing so, we create an environment for everyone to learn and grow. This can be difficult if the person with whom we’re conversing doesn’t choose to slow down or listen to learn. However, using our positive influence, we can show them the way. If necessary, ask them if they would like to continue the conversation another time, but don’t completely dismiss their points. Leadership always comes back to slowing down and listening to learn.

“The best way for us to perhaps influence others is to instead focus on ourselves by doing our best – then others will be influenced from our leadership by example.” – Lisa Kardos

3. Encourage honesty as the best policy

If we find ourselves in conversations in which the other party isn’t listening to learn or slowing down to give full attention to the situation, our ability to be honest about their inattention and cursory decision-making can steer the other person back on track. By being honest, we can bring others back to the present to pursue the common goal. Additionally, being honest will aid immensely in our influence because people trust us to tell them the truth.  

4. Learn to delegate effectively

Managing delegation is a large part of managing and leading teams. It involves a careful selection process in which the delegated task is assigned to the right person for that task. Knowing the right person requires recognizing the one with the skills necessary to complete that task or the one that is ready to grow in learning about that task. If the delegation process is not done mindfully, team members can become disconnected to the common goal. Think about the telephone game we played as kids; if we didn’t communicate the message appropriately to the chosen person, the meaning became muddled or lost.  

5. Create a positive culture

Culture is people. It’s formed by our whole team. For success to be fully realized, the environment must be a positive one in which everyone can do their best work, innovate, and create together. A positive team culture is a by-product of helping everyone slow down, listen to learn, employ honesty, and delegate effectively. But these are only parts of a positive culture. When the environment is stable and everyone can bring their authentic selves to the workplace, the foundation for a positive culture becomes established. We choose what type of culture we work in everyday by the actions we take and the influence we exert on our team.  

It’s true that success has many forms, but if we’re looking to build success that several individuals can revel in, we must understand our influence. As leaders, our most important responsibility is understanding that our influence on others matters, and it’s through our influence that others become inspired to provide their best work, help our clients, add to a positive culture, and much more. Helping our team members to understand how they contribute to team success and giving them a purpose to keep striving will ensure their team success — as well as our own.  

Brian Smith, PhD, is founder and senior managing partner of IA Business Advisors, a management consulting firm that has worked with more than 18,000 CEOs, entrepreneurs, managers and employees worldwide. Together with his daughter, Mary Smith, he has authored his latest book, Individual Advantages: Be the “I” in Team (BookBaby, March 2, 2021). Learn more at

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds



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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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