Influence is at the heart of leadership. To be even a modestly successful leader, you must be able to “sell” your ideas and be open to even better ideas that people  bring to the table.

The quantity and quality of your relationships matter. You need to have a sufficiently large web of connections to get the job done. And the relationships with those people need to be rock solid. How do you make sure that you have positive bonds with the people you need to connect with? Start with the three laws of influence.

The Law of Big Things: Take on what you can handle and deliver 100% of the time. Failure is not an option, or at least it should be a rarity. Otherwise, you impact your integrity and the degree of trust people can have in you to follow through. The Law of Big Things requires an honest assessment of your capabilities, the time required and your competing priorities.

The Law of Little Things: Fulfill the social contract. “Little things” include everyday courtesies, manners, helpfulness, hospitality and a friendly demeanor. Don’t take for granted that you already abide by The Law of Little Things. It’s all too easy to get caught up in your “busy-ness” and lose sight of common civilities.

The Law of Reciprocity: Seek first to be influenced, listen, trust and value others. You build your ability to influence by practicing The Law of Reciprocity, which is much like the good old Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want to influence, allow yourself to be influenced. If you want others to listen, do so yourself. You really do reap what you sow.

Influence depends upon the quality of the relationships you build over time and the degree of trust you inspire. Influence depends less upon what you say and more upon what you do.  As Zig Zigler noted, “The most important persuasion tool in your entire arsenal is integrity.”

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