Leadership and Circle of Acquaintances
How can people affect your life?
Almost every leader knows that people around them can affect their life in a way or another but what most of them don’t know is that this effect is far more powerful than they can imagine.
They don’t just influence leaders decisions but they can alter their view of the world, change their perception and turn them into a different person.
Be careful with who you surround yourself with. Research shows that people who are lied to are more likely to lie and cheat. Similar research shows that having an obese friend increases your chances of becoming obese by 171% and having a smoker in your family increases your chances of smoking by 61%. But, people can make you better too. For example, studies show that having just one happy friend increases your chances of becoming happy by 15%. In fact, having just one friend of a friend who is happy increases your chances of being happy by 10% and having one friend of a friend of a friend who is happy increases your chances of being happy by 6%. How is this possible?
The principles behind ways the people around you affect your life
- They change your beliefs about things: Beliefs can be changed if they were constantly challenged and if new beliefs were constantly repeated. Lots of people had a pessimistic view of the job market before they even had the chance to interact with it. This pessimistic view came from the continuous programming they received from their friends in the form of suggestions that are repeated over and over such as “its extremely hard to find a job these days”
- They affect your self confidence: People especially friends change the perception of each other, if the majority of a group thinks that a person is arrogant or snobbish then this belief will be transferred to the whole group. Since believing that someone is treating you in a bad way might be interpreted as a sign that shows that you are not that worthy then such a belief might affect your self confidence badly.
- People in your circle affect your behaviour: An experiment has shown that a monkey that never feared snakes started to fear them when it saw the anxious response of another monkey that feared them. This means that watching someone who is feeling afraid, anxious or helpless could teach you how to be like him.
- People around you can infect you with bad emotions: Why do you think you experience different emotions while watching a movie? Simply because the facial expressions of actors transfers to you their emotional states and the same happens with your friends. Your sad friend might make you feel sad and your depressed friend can let you become depressed on the long term.
Types of people that Leaders should avoid
Most leaders should understand the importance and influence that human beings have on one another and use this knowledge to their advantage.
Leaders aren’t flawless and aren’t impervious to all. With enough damage coming from enough sides, even the strongest will fall. The trick is to plan ahead and avoid those who will make you worse off for knowing them.
- The Show-offs
Those who feel the need to be showy are always compensating for something and trying to prove their worth to themselves. Unfortunately for them, this is how you know they have little worth.
Showing and trying to make other people envious is a waste of time, unless you’re trying to make yourself feel better about yourself at the expense of others. People that do such things are not the kind of people you want to keep around as a leader.
- The Unintelligent
These are people with immense ego, voluntary ignorance and self-righteousness.
Most of us know at least one or two people who are completely unintelligent as a result of continually making bad decisions and not learning from their mistakes for their entire lives.
- The Leeches or the Siphon
Growing up, we’ve all had or been that friend who was always a bit broke and always happy to take a handout. When our friends are at a difficult point in their lives, there’s no reason not to help them out or to offer to pay for their drinks so they come out and have fun with the rest of the group.
The problem is when the person seems comfortable in the position and is making little to no effort of improving their financial situation. These people will suck up your time and energy until you have nothing left. They will ride your coattails and eat away at you simultaneously.
Siphons are exhausting. Don’t let guilt and obligation coerce you into keeping these people in your life. Cut them off. Right now.
- The clown.
Clowns are bold, witty, and full of energy. They have a lot of ideas and are constantly popping off at the mouth.These people use their wit and charisma to push others down.
Clowns are manipulative and mocking. If someone you spend a lot of time with is always making fun of other people, guess what, they’re probably making fun of you behind your back too. Kick these people out of your life. You’ll be better off for it.
- The quack.
The quack lacks the patience and the intelligence to dig deeply into a particular system.
Instead of gathering data and performing actual science, the quack skims the work of others and uses pseudoscience to make money off of others. As a leader, be wary of people who regurgitate case studies and scientific experiments, especially if they’ve never worked for a business or performed an actual scientific experiment themselves.
Quacks are all show. Stay away from them.
- The Lazy
Laziness is a disease, one that is highly contagious. Lazy people make other people lazy. The more you hang around the immobile, the less you will feel the need to be mobile.
The mentally strong are not impervious. Hang around lazy people too often and you’ll notice your productivity and general enjoyment of life plummeting.
- The Big Talkers
Those that spend their time running their mouths spend little time doing anything else. It’s the leader that don’t bother doing the talking because the work they are doing speaks for itself. The talkers, on the other hand, have nothing but the empty words they’re speaking.
- The Constantly Depressed
We all know people who are always feeling bad for themselves, always complaining about how difficult their lives are and how unlucky they are.
Bad luck is not a lifelong circumstance. If your life sucks, then it’s mostly, if not entirely, your fault. Don’t keep these folks around unless you want them to bring you down with them.
- Those who stay within their comfort zones
If we wish to live a life of adventure, then those who aren’t adventurous need be avoided. All those you meet and come across in your life are partners on your journey, if only for a few seconds.
Those we keep around more regularly end up steering our direction more than we realize. If you hope to leave your comfort zone regularly, then don’t hang out with those who aren’t willing to leave theirs. Their chain simply isn’t long enough to go for the ride.
- The Non-Dreamers
Those who can’t dream don’t live. Life is about believing that things can be better — not just for you, but for everyone. What makes people human is dreaming and hoping that the change to come will be for the better.
Those that don’t dream won’t allow you to dream, either, and will do their best to prove to you that your dreams are just that: dreams.
- The Non-Believers
Worse than those who don’t dream are those who dream, but don’t believe that they can turn those dreams into reality. Those who don’t believe in themselves don’t amount to anything in life.
They are the losers — those that are always there, but don’t influence the world. They live in a gloomy and depressing world where their lives are out of their hands. They go with the flow and never attempt to achieve any sort of success.
Don’t rely on them to support you when you need the support, either. If they don’t believe in themselves, then they won’t believe in you.
- Those who are judgmental
Judgmental people will find a way to criticize anything and everything they come in contact with. You could take the time to explain something to them in great detail but it goes in one ear and out the other. They come to their conclusions before they hear any facts — they don’t listen well and are horrible at communicating. Asking for advice or feedback from a judgmental person is a complete waste of time.
- Those who are envious
Being a leader can be a very bumpy journey filled with highs and lows — while it’s important to have a strong group of supporters in your corner during the low times it’s also important to have supporters that are there to congratulate you when you hit the high points. Envious people will not be happy for you — ever. They feel that it should happen to them and nobody else.
- Those who are control freaks
Control freaks don’t ever want to listen — they don’t have to, because according to them they know everything and they know the best way to do everything. A successful leader requires team members that will listen to and follow instructions. If you have control freaks on your team it can cause a “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem.
- Those who are arrogant
Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance — confident people inspire, while arrogant people intimidate and annoy. Someone with an arrogant attitude feels he or she is better than everyone around them. In a personal setting this can be annoying, while for example in church setting this can create rancorous environment. As a leader you must keep such people around you.
- Those who are victims
The constant victim will always make excuses and blame others for their mistakes and wrongdoing. They will never accept responsibility and always point the finger. Are you ready to have such a fellow in your circle; of course NO.
- Those who are Negative
Someone who is always negative will drain your positive energy immediately — they thrive on bringing everyone down around them. You will never receive any words of encouragement from a Negative person and personality. They will discredit every idea you have and instead of being supportive they will go out of their way to point out every possible way you could fail, rather than focus on possibilities and potential. They are a major energy-suck. Spew them out.
- Those who are liars
To be successful you have to surround yourself with other successful individuals that you can trust and count on to be there for you. You can’t trust liars and it’s hard to count on them because you never know if they are lying or telling the truth. That type of uncertainty will wear you out quickly — eliminate them from your life and you won’t have to wonder if you are being lied to.
- Those who are gossipers
People gossip because they are insecure — they don’t know how to separate fact from speculation and when truths get twisted, the wrong information is conveyed, feelings get hurt and enemies are born. Having a gossiper within your circle can be very destructive — they are cancers and can quickly create a negative environment.
If any of these rings an alarm, then there is a good chance you are being exposed to poisonous individuals. You should consider removing them from the equation of the influence you wield, allowing you to remain 100% focused on reaching your goals as a leader without unnecessary distractions.
Here are kind of people who can exert a positive influence on you and help as a leader in propelling you forward on the path of success.
- Ambitious and passionate people.
Surround yourself with people who have goals, want to accomplish something in life, reach somewhere and be something. No matter which area or field they are trying to excel in, the common denominator is that they have clarity about life and know exactly what their goals are. These people always keep their big picture in mind. They work according to their vision, are focused on their goals and are always planning in terms of moving ahead on their chosen path.
- The doers.
This world is full of people who make brilliant plans. But it is the doers, those who put their plans into action, who succeed in accomplishing goals and translate their hard work into success. The doers give themselves goals and set deadlines to achieve those goals. Surround yourself with such people. They will inspire you to overcome procrastination, take action and move steadily towards your goals.
- The problem solvers.
As a leader, no matter who you are or what you do and where you express your influence, you will always encounter problems in one form or the other. Instead of crying about things not working out, problem solvers focus on finding out ways to fix the problems. Surround yourself with these people and they will help you figure out the way forward.
- Those who are on a similar journey as you.
Surround yourself with people you aspire to be, what you too want to become and who are out to reach similar goals as you. You can relate to such people, have meaningful conversations with them, discuss your problems, ask for advice and seek their help when you feel stuck.
- Those who can inspire you and be your role model.
Surround yourself people you admire, look up to, want to emulate and walk in their footsteps. They are the awesome people you always dream of becoming. These people can impact you tremendously, help you get into the winner’s mindset, infuse self-belief and confidence in you that you too can succeed and accomplish your goals.
- Those who help you tap your full potential and bring out the best in you.
Surround yourself with people who understand you, can identify with your dreams and aspirations and will help you further your goals. They may be your family members, friends, colleagues or associates- anyone you can resonate with and feel comfortable with talking your heart out, discussing your positives and negatives, assets and limitations, strengths and weaknesses. They will help you get in touch with your real self and make you feel confident and empowered.
- Those who can provide a genuine feedback.
It is human nature to hear good things about ourselves. Most people gravitate towards those who appreciate them and talk positive about them. But it is not wise to have ‘yes people’ around you all the time. To have a balanced view about yourself and be aware of your blind spots, it is important that you surround yourself with people who can provide authentic feedback and who don’t mince words while giving their honest opinion about you. They will help you better yourself, rectify your mistakes, work on your weak spots and help you grow.
- Those who can help you to be happy, upbeat and positive.
En route the journey of success, you will experience difficulties, face challenges, problems and hardships that can make you feel low. It is important to have a support group and be surrounded by people who can keep your spirits up when the chips are down and boost your morale when things seem dark and nebulous. These cheerleaders will be there for you when you need them the most and help you tide over down times.
- The ‘forward moving’ people.
Surround yourself with people who are forever marching ahead. They are not satisfied with one time success. For them, success is an ongoing journey. They set themselves goals, work hard to accomplish them, get what they want but don’t stop at that. They are not the ones to rest on their laurels. These people are moving ever onwards. When one set of goals is achieved, they raise the bar higher and give themselves a new set of goals. Such people will inspire you and encourage you to keep doing new things and set new goals for yourself.
These dreamers don’t even need to be involved in the same sphere of influence as you; the important thing is that you keep close people with big plans for themselves. . If it wasn’t for the dreamers of the world, we wouldn’t be able to fly by plane, hold a smartphone in our hands or communicate with people via Facetime or Skype. Dreamers, creatives and visionaries are connected to a world of possibility and spending time around them can help you to push your limits, unleash your creative skills and consider looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes.
Seeing other people’s drive will keep you hungry to reach your goals.
- The oracle.
Oracles are those rare, intelligent people who can see the end from the beginning. They are visionaries who live rich internal lives and who can look at everything from a bird’s eye view.
Very often, they are loners with introverted personalities who predict (or change) the course of humanity with their longterm mindsets.
If you have big goals for your life, make sure you surround yourself with as many oracles as possible and consult with them frequently.
- The Wizard or the Genius.
If Steve Jobs was the oracle at Apple, then Steve Wozniak was the wizard.
Wizards are innovators. They are the scientists, engineers, and architects behind the world’s most amazing inventions. These people do the most difficult thing in the world: create something from nothing.
No matter what you’re trying to build, wizards will help you build it better and faster. Wizards make up the brilliant R&D, programming, and design teams at the world’s top companies. Without wizards, all ideas would waste away.
- The linguist.
Linguists are people who excel at wordplay. They are able to organize their thoughts into oral and written forms of communication to motivate, entertain, and teach other people.
Linguistics is the study of language form, meaning, and context. Modern day linguists are authors, bloggers, public speakers, columnists, scientific writers, and communicators of all types. You might be tempted to take these people for granted, especially in today’s world where content has become a commodity. This is a mistake.
Whoever creates the stickiest content, controls the conversation. From memes to mission statements to memos, communication is what keeps ideas, product, services and actions on the top of people’s minds and at the tip of their tongues.
In business, the best communicators are always hired first. Interpersonal skills are more important than any other skill and can literally double your value to any company. If you lack this skillset, surround yourself with people who have it and learn from them.
- The connector.
Connectors are those people who have dipped into a vast array of diverse groups. Connectors know people from businesses or from parts of the world that you’ve never even heard of.
Connecting with others and working with them towards a shared goal is the only way to make really big things happen. I also learned that connecting with others can be a lot of fun.
When you get stuck in life, it’s the connector who will know the perfect person to help you get unstuck. Stay close to the connectors in your life. They make incredible managers. They also throw the best parties.
- The encyclopedia.
Encyclopedias are exceptionally structured and exquisitely detail oriented. These people excel in implementing and sustaining professional systems and processes. They are the oil that keeps all organizations running smoothly.
Encyclopedias are the easiest people to take for granted. They operate under the radar and take care of very tactical operations. But, they are still incredibly important. If details put you to sleep, then you need to get an encyclopedia in your life as soon as possible. Encyclopedias will keep you organized and help you hit the tactical benchmarks that you might be overlooking.
- Those who value integrity.
These type of people value honesty and doing the right thing. They are not angels on earth and have made mistakes in the past. However these people, even though they are truly successful, still enforce doing the right thing. Many leaders tend to change for the worst, but the ones who value integrity, keep this intact.
It’s important not to lose yourself when you become successful leader. However when you’re surrounded by people who value integrity, they will remind you to stay honest and true to yourself always.
- Those who value relationships.
It’s not what we get that makes us happy, it’s who we become. Part of becoming a great person is having quality relationships. When you have quality relationships that are deep and cherished, you become happier and live a more fulfilled life.
People who value relationships will teach you how to maintain and hold onto the best ones. These people know that by hanging around unstable people, they will become unstable which will affect their loved ones and friends. By hanging around people who value the importance of keeping great relationships with good people, you will do the same too.
- Those who value their health.
There is no point in being the richest man in the graveyard. People who value their health live longer and happier lives and teach you the importance of looking after what’s most important to you, your health. As you know, without proper health and exercise, you’ll become fat and low in energy to do what you need to do.
If you focus on increasing your energy, you increase your output. People who value their health will teach you how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- The Positives.
You can never get positive results from a negative mindset. This is probably the most important types of people of all. All it takes is just one negative person or idea to undermine everything. It’s like dropping a drop of poison into your coffee. Once you drink it, you’re dead.
Successful leaders understand that if they associate with positive people, they too will be positive and optimistic of their future. As a leader, hang around positive people and you’ll increase your energy levels and not be drained by the drama and gossip that mediocre people involve themselves in.
- Those who have overcome adversity
Some of the most courageous and determined people I know are those who have overcome adversity. Many of them have allowed their traumas; failures and challenges to make them stronger and learnt valuable lessons along the way. Overcoming adversity has strengthened their resilience muscles, increased their self-awareness and built their confidence. Instead of allowing adversity to hold them back, many of them have used their challenges as fuel to turn things around, inspiring others to do the same.
Who do you know that has overcome all odds and inspires you to do the same?
The fastest way in order for you to accelerate your success as a leader is simply choosing the right people to hang around with. You can read all the books you want and stay motivated but if you’re around losers, you’ll become a loser yourself.
Remember, you are who your surround yourself with in your life. It’s that simple – the right people make you a better person. By focusing more on seeking out and surrounding yourself with the right types of people, you improve your overall quality of life and ultimately your chances of success.