Keep Your Influence Intact

Smart association leaders know they can’t take their influence for granted, even when they’ve built an excellent reputation. Maintaining sway requires attention, too. Keep these tips from peers in mind:

It’s not just about you.

“Be consistent and make time to nurture relationships; show a genuine interest in others and get to know what is important to them.” —Shawn Boynes, CAE, executive director, American Association of Anatomists

Be accessible.

“It’s easy to get to the end of the day having prioritized meetings, to-dos, and deliverables, but not people. It’s essential to carve out time to step away from our desks, phones, and conference rooms to grab coffee with a colleague, enjoy lunch with a professional friend, or just pop into someone’s office to say, ‘Hi.’ ” — Natasha Rankin, CAE, COO, American Counseling Association

Be honest.

“Trust is paramount when you’re looking at influence. When your colleagues realize your actions and decisions are made based on what’s best for the organization versus what’s in your own best interest, you maintain influence.” —Kara Freeman, CAE, vice president of administration and chief information officer, American Council on Education

Express your opinions.

“Don’t be afraid to be provocative (but don’t consistently be the one with the ‘crazy Ivan’ opinions), and always listen to and consider the opinions of those around you.” —Clarke Price, FASAE, CAE, former president and CEO, Ohio Society of CPAs

Stay in touch with folks—and not just when you need them.

“Sometimes small talk does make a difference. Be a resource to others when you can. People like to help those who help them.” —Kristine Metter, CAE, vice president for member services, America’s Essential Hospitals

(Antonios Mitsopoulos/Getty Images)

Kristin Clarke, CAE

By Kristin Clarke, CAE

Kristin Clarke, CAE, is books editor for Associations Now and president of Clarke Association Content. MORE

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