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The Sphere of Influence

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6 Steps to Superior Leadership, Step 4: Growing the Sphere of Influence

Leadership Highlights:
  • Trust and Safety must start and be nurtured at the core or "safety zone" of the team.

    • Forgiveness and patience are key to a successful "safety zone."

  • As safety and trust grows, team members begin influencing each other in positive ways.

    • Knowledge and understanding of strengths and personality traits is critical in the "safety zone."

    • -As team members start understanding what it means to work outside the safety zone and how they should start supporting each other in this context.

  • As this process is developing, the leader must start analyzing and planning how to influence the team AND those outside of the team.

    • This requires humility and an authentic desire to add value.

    • Very difficult to do well and consistently.

  • Team members that often operate outside the sphere of influence must be identified as the team's delegates.

    • Delegates' strengths, personality tendencies and understanding of how to control and not enable conflict must be an area of focus for the leader.

    • Delegates often face complicated politics, real and perceived attacks from others, as well as other pressures.

    • Pressures may lead delegates to bad tendencies when they come back to the safety zone.

    • Other team members must be aware of the pressures delegates face and have a level of forgiveness combined with a willingness to share honoring feedback. There is a limit to the forgiveness, as trust disabling behavior must be controlled by everyone.

  • The leader must be aware of her/his strengths as well as her/his positive and negative tendencies.

  • The leader must also understand how to avoid conflict.


In order to consistently deliver influential and successful products, the supervisor must focus on establishing a strong foundation or "safety zone" where trust and safety are nurtured for all staff members. The safety zone can become a source of creativity and energy which enables the team to influence others in their division, the organization, and outside the organization.

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