As a doctoral professor I am always concerned about the level of my influence. Our words as well as our actions impact those with whom we lead or interact with daily.

Napoleon Hill once stated, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

I have witnessed successful business owners negatively impact their employees because they did not recognize their direct ability to influence others. Off-handed comments and disparaging comments meant to be amusing, often had the opposite effect, and organizational chaos ensued.

Our words do affect others. Make sure they are uplifting, motivating and inspiring. Leave the jokes or off-color comments to the comedians – they have no place in organizational structure. “You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time,” as articulated by J.S. Knox.

Given our ability to influence others, an article titled, “How to Dramatically Increase Your Influence as a Leader,” by Lolly Daskel, highlights important leadership points. In parentheses, I include how to add this to your leadership domain.

Provide opportunities for wins. (Create an environment conducive for others to achieve small wins that will magnify their potential. They will admire your ability to transform challenges into opportunities, and opportunities into wins.)

Believe in your people. (There is no greater inspiration than empowering others to achieve their purpose synced with the organization. Stating, “I believe in you,” allows others to achieve the seemingly impossible.)

Serve others before yourself. (Transformational leaders are experts at losing themselves in the service to others. If character is what you do when no one else is looking, then you are what you do and not what you say you will do. Be authentic.)

Give trust so you can earn trust. (Trust is the foundational principle that solidifies all relationships. Exceptional leaders exemplify building teamwork, and, in the process, stimulates trust.)

Think bigger for others—even bigger than they think of themselves. (Service to others and helping others achieve their goals build diamond organizations. Selfless leaders ignite our passions and allow us the ability to mimic their behavior in serving a greater need than our own.)

Truly connect with people. (Great leaders ignite our passions by connecting with others and relating to them in a way that increases their own unique brand of influence. Forming true connections enables influence to transcend artificial boundaries.)

Invest in the success of others. (There is nothing more influential than investing in people and allowing them to reach their potential. True leaders stimulate and kindle the innate desire for others to reach their potential, which brings out the best in others as well.)

Extend honor to receive respect. (Respect is never given, rather it is earned. Influence grows sequentially as you extend honor and respect to others.)

Lead with character. (Character rides in tandem with ethical behavior. Influence is predicated on character, integrity and ethical behavior.)

Lift people up. (Transformational leaders inspire others by lifting others up. Always show and practice kindness and attention to others. The simple act of being kind exerts more influence than you realize.)

Lead with authority but allow autonomy. (The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. If you truly want people to respect you as a leader, you must prove to them they can survive, thrive and even prosper without you.)

Lead from within. (Leaders should influence others in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.)

Converging thoughts escalate when we unleash the power and potential of people and organizations for the common good. Diamond leaders unleash these three values: ethics – doing the right things for the right reasons; relationships – building mutual trust and respect with our stakeholders; and finally, inspiring others to achieve their goals while meeting the needs and values of the organizations.

In the end, as stated by Rob Siltanen, “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

What do you want to change and what is your legacy of influence?