15 Aug 10 Daily Habits of the World’s Most Influential People
What does it take to become an effective leader? How do influential people become so persuasive and authoritative? What makes charismatic managers so easy to trust and follow?
Do these people wake up exceptionally early each morning? Do they eat a special cereal before heading to work? What exactly do they do that makes them so successful and powerful?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. Books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey and “Tribes” by Seth Godin make it clear that society is fascinated with identifying the traits, routines, and rituals that make leaders and influencers tick. And while there are no shortcuts to becoming a powerful influencer or an effective leader, there are a few habits that most influencers and leaders share.
Whether you want to become a leader in your industry or just influence the people in your office, the following 10 habits will help you get closer to your goals.
In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie writes, “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.” True to Carnegie’s words, influential people can strike up a conversation with anyone about anything. They have the special ability to connect with people and make them feel special. They listen to others and show genuine interest in their ideas and concerns.
In order to become a true influencer, take time every day to talk to people around you. Get to know their names. Invite them to breakfast or lunch. Learn about their lives and interests. Ask them questions. Most importantly, listen to their ideas.
Communication is a two-way street. As such, it’s not enough to strike up conversations with the people around you. To become a true influencer, you need to make yourself easily accessible to others. You never know when a potential hire, team member, or former colleague will need your help.
Publish your email address (Bill Gates, one of the most powerful people in the world, did it for years). Invite people to come to your office whenever they need something. Create an environment where people feel comfortable bringing you their ideas.
As you create an open atmosphere, people will feel safe and confident in your presence, which allows you to strengthen your bonds and connections with them.
According to an interview between Dale Carnegie and Charles M. Schwab, an American steel magnate, few things motivate people like sincere appreciation. In fact, Schwab said, “I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”
When a team member meets a goal, praise and recognize them in front of the team. When a colleague shares something enlightening with you, thank them. By doing so, you’ll motivate people to engage in the behavior that led to the praise and recognition. You’ll also appear sincere and earnest, two traits that will help you forge connections with others.
The most successful people are not strangers to failure and disappointments. Rather, they have experienced failures, struggles, and trials, but choose to look past them. Influencers and leaders choose not to hold grudges, against others or themselves.
Treat each new day as just that—a new day. If an employee or family member let you down yesterday, don’t let that affect the way you treat them today. If you missed a deadline several days ago, don’t start believing that you can’t meet the next deadline. Instead, learn from the past and remain open to the future.
The people who exert the most influence tend to be the ones who ask the most questions. Questions help influencers in two ways.
First, when an influencer asks a question, they give another person a chance to be heard. As a result, they tend to be well liked by those people. Second, they appear invested and interested in the conversation. This reassures other people in the conversation, and also helps them trust the influencer.
By being active in your conversations and asking questions, you’ll also appear humble. You’ll acknowledge to other people that you don’t have all the answers, which makes you seem even more approachable.
In addition to asking questions, powerful influencers and leaders have inquisitive minds. No matter how busy they are, they take time to explore the world and all it has to offer on a daily basis. They know that the solution to their most pressing problem could be in a book, a podcast, or even a Tweet.
Take time every day to read newsletters and articles about your industry. Read books by trendsetters in your field. Check news sites and social media to see what’s going on in the world. Branch out into new subjects to give yourself a creative boost.
You’ve likely heard the old saying “no risk, no reward,” and it definitely applies to becoming influential. Risk-taking is crucial to effective leadership. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, agrees. He said, “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” By taking risks, you show confidence in yourself and those around you, and confidence is key to winning people’s trust.
Influential people know that individuals are often their own worst enemy. To overcome this tendency, influencers don’t talk themselves (or anybody else, for that matter) out of greatness. Instead, they possess the confidence to act, to make tough decisions, and to encourage others to take a leap of faith.
The Internet’s constant availability makes it seem like successful people never stop working. And while some powerhouse leaders consistently put in 100-hour work weeks, they also take time to decompress.
According to Marissa Mayer, former Google executive and current president and CEO of Yahoo!, people who never take breaks are likely to begin resenting their work and colleagues. And if you’re in a leadership position, burnout and resentment could lead to disaster.
Take short breaks each day to keep your productivity high and your mental health in check. On top of that, don’t be afraid to schedule a vacation or two throughout the year. Doing so will not only give you something to look forward to (thus motivating you to work harder)—it will also help you take your mind off work and return more energized than ever.
Powerful leaders didn’t become successful or influential on accident. Rather, they made plans and set goals to help them grow and succeed. To become an effective leader, set short-term and long-term goals each day. Do you need to review a report by the end of the day? Do you need to hold a meeting with your team? What can you do today to work toward completing your next big project? What tasks can your team perform today to reach your yearly goals?
Planning and goal-setting are both essential to becoming an influencer because they:
- Direct your focus and attention.
- Eliminate wasteful activity.
- Foster innovation.
- Reduce the risk of uncertainty.
- Allow for more effective decision-making.
Although this habit is simple, it is essential to becoming a great influencer. Leaders and influencers have a natural charisma that draws other people to them, and part of that charisma comes from the simple act of smiling.
In his book “Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within,” Achim Nowak states, “When we talk about charisma, it’s the quality people who light up the stage have. They’re like an energy magnet—and we want to engage.”
People like people who are happy. They like people who are energetic, enthusiastic, and excited about their lives. So even if you don’t feel great, make an extra effort to smile. The more you do so, the more you’ll exude happiness, and the more you’ll draw others in.
The key to becoming an influential person is consistency, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t become a powerful influencer overnight. The vast majority of today’s powerhouse leaders became great only after years, or even decades, of unsteady progress. Stick to these daily habits with the goal of creating an environment in which you and those around you can thrive.