Eileen’s Outlook: Understanding Your Circle of Influence

Are you a control freak? Be honest. But also be gentle with yourself – very often the need to be in control of every little thing that has an influence on you is born of fear. Fear that something will happen that you cannot control and that will change your life drastically. 

One of the ways of combatting this fear, especially in the sphere of work, is to recognise that which you can control, that which you can influence, and that which concerns you but that you can neither control nor influence. These are our Circle of Control, our Circle of Influence, and our Circle of Concern respectively. 

We can only ever control ourselves. This control includes how we respond to situations and events, and the people with whom we interact. Namely, our control can only be exerted on our emotions, the way we choose to see the world around us, and our feelings about ourselves and others. These controllable emotions and feelings dictate how we respond to people and situations. For example, if I have a negative outlook on life and generally think that people are out to do the bare minimum, it will dictate my bias and therefore my reaction to the people with whom I interact. However, if I believe that most people are happy to help and to go above and beyond to help me, I am more likely to give people, and their interactions with me, the benefit of the doubt. 

Our Circle of Control is what determines our degree of success as both human beings, and as leaders. But what of our interactions with others?  

This is where our Circle of Control ends, and our Circle of Influence begins. Whenever other people become involved in the equation of interaction, you will only ever have the power to influence. This is because you cannot control others. You can implement policies, procedures and systems to encourage them to behave in certain ways, but as a leader you will still need to influence how those under your leadership adhere to these policies, procedures and systems.  

Then come those aspects of life which we can neither control nor influence, but that still affect us: our Circle of Concern. Events such as the global pandemic feature in our Circles of Concern – we could control how we reacted to it, we could influence others to react to it in certain ways, but we could not control nor influence the affect that Covid 19 had on the global economy and on our daily lives.  

It is worthwhile to remember that investing time, resources and energy into things that we have no control over can only serve to exhaust and frustrate us. Far better to spend time and energy on developing our leadership skills – on deciding how we will react to others, and hopefully influencing them for the better! 

The LLC Academy offers an array of leadership-focused skills development courses and programmes that are specifically designed to enable you and your team to become better leaders. Speak to us today about how we can help you to understand, develop and expand your Circle of Influence. 

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