Top 7 Characteristics of Influential People

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What do Richard Branson, Jaan Tallinn and the Dalai Lama have in common? They’re all thought-leaders, influential people. People want to listen to them – and follow what they say.

What’s more, they’ve gained influence through the force of their personalities, overcoming barriers along the way.

For example, Richard Branson skipped the usual university-to-work course and launched a string of disruptive models that many wrote off as nuts. The Dalai Lama has spent decades in exile, condemned by the Chinese authorities – yet he’s a household name that celebrated his 80th birthday on stage at Glastonbury music festival alongside rock legend Patti Smith.

So just how do they do it?

The most influential leaders all share the same traits. Qualities that win people over and establish them as respected and much-loved figures in the eyes of their colleagues, collaborators and the wider world.

Want to be more influential as a person? Take a look at these 7 top characteristics of influential people.

4b3e431d-8a3d-4bde-9509-a6b5ff57af401. They have vision

Influential people aren’t just trying to get the job done in the short-term. They have big dreams and ideas of how the world could or should be. Everything they do is a step towards making this vision a reality.

2. They’re clear and consistent

Not only do influential people have a vision, they know how to communicate it. They make sure that their beliefs and aims are reflected in every interaction – and they take pains to avoid contradiction or hypocrisy. Not only does this demonstrate integrity, it helps make sure that their message is reiterated and absorbed, over and over again.

3. They listen

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours,” wrote Dale Carnegie in his bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Counter-intuitive as it might sound, the best way to get someone on your side is to ask questions about them and really listen to what they say. Try it, it works.

8cbe2d52-c827-47ee-b995-5b7b76f7da914. They keep their cool

Losing your temper is never a good look. While it’s great to be passionate, calmly outlining your argument will always make you look stronger. This impacts positively on how people perceive you and whether they listen to what you say.

5. They adapt

Influential people understand that while their message is constant, the medium is evolving. They get that you need to adopt new technologies and approaches in order to cope with a changing world and stay relevant and effective.

6. They put people at ease

Anyone can cajole others into doing what they want. While it might make you powerful in the short term, it doesn’t make you influential, it makes you a bully – and the thing about bullies is, everyone wants them to fail. By inviting contributions from your team and making colleagues feel happy, inspired and excited, you foster a culture of trust and loyalty that drives the business forward. If anything goes wrong, your team has your back.

de1a3c50-6568-4584-9eec-670f78b9f4757. They keep the conversation going

Influential people understand that to make a project a success, it needs to stay on track. They’re expert communicators that excel at cutting through the noise and communicating the most vital messages, maintaining regular contact to ensure everyone’s supported and on target. This is what truly makes them a leader.

Marek Sanders, copywriter

 

This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and a Fleep evangelist.

 

Chat for teams

Fleep User Story: Fututec

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that highlights the cool people, teams and companies that use Fleep in their daily business.

Meet Fututec – an innovative company developing a cloud-based information system for managing real estate. Their goal is to make the management of real estate in big business centres significantly more effective. Founded in 2010, Fututec has more than 200 business clients already – and is planning to further expand its horizons very soon. Olari Miiter, chairman of Fututec, shares more about their company, the system they have built and about how they use Fleep…

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Team Fututec – from left: Ragmar Saksing (Co-founder, Head of Development), Veiko Vostrjakov (Partner, Sales and Contracts), Olari Miiter (Co-founder, Marketing and Managing director)

Tell us more about Fututec and the information system you have built.

The Fututec information system streamlines the communication process between business centres and their tenants. It is meant for managing different types of real estate – shopping centres, warehouse space, logistics centres, automatic gas stations, school buildings, kindergartens, office buildings, port buildings, sports centres, etc. It helps the owners and tenants share information in a better, more effective way.

FututecUsually, the business centres or property managers receive information regarding their property – like numbers of visitors and turnover – via email or in the form of Excel sheets. With Fututec, these are put directly into the centre’s information system. This speeds up the process, and makes it more convenient for everyone involved. Additionally, it is super easy to analyze the reported data in Fututec, which improves the planning and execution of campaigns, for example.

How did you find out about Fleep?

We were sitting in our meeting room in Tehnopol and noticed the Fleep logo across the hallway. It sparked our interest and we immediately looked it up. It looked like an interesting tool so we decided to give it a go – we’ve been using it ever since!

What are you using Fleep for and how?

We used to have our communication spread out between different business communication tools: Skype, Gmail, Trello etc. Today, all of our team communication happens in Fleep.

As we have a few different ongoing topics with our team (e.g. sales, marketing, development, contracts, random chat), it is easy to have them as respective conversations in Fleep. And these different conversations have different combinations of team members involved. Also, some emails that have to do with one or the other topic run nicely into the Fleep conversations.

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There are also some conversations that only include the founders of the company. Additionally, we have conversations with our clients and some dedicated conversations by client type, by region. So, for example, there may be a conversation for everything regarding shopping centres in a certain part of a country. We have also found that our partners are using Fleep more and more for all of their communication!

What do you like about Fleep?

I like how Fleep has remained simple and easy to use. It’s so comfortable to use on your phone, tablet or on your computer.

From the functionality, my favorite feature is the possibility to add new members to a conversation members very easily. In email conversations, you’d usually have to email a new member separately, selecting and forwarding relevant pieces of information from your inbox.

In Fleep, it’s way simpler. For example, our company’s founders had discussed a few things related to sales for some time before there was a need to add the salesperson to the conversation. When they did, the salesperson was able to see everything that had been discussed!

What are your Fleep tips?

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I would recommend everyone to make use of the Conversation link and Conversation email features. These make it so easy to create new conversations and share them with whomever necessary. For example, you can turn on Sharing in the conversation settings and just send the Conversation link to the relevant people – they can then join the conversation by just clicking on the link.

Who would you recommend Fleep to?  

We would recommend Fleep to everyone who’s tired of digging through emails for pieces of information. Fleep is easy to use and gives a great overview of things.

Thanks for sharing your Fleep User story, Fututec! You can find all featured user stories under the Fleep User Stories category. Make sure you also follow Fleep on Twitter (#fleepstories) and Facebook to keep an eye on our news and updates!

Chat for teams

Fleep User Story: Naw

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that showcases all the cool people, teams and companies that use Fleep in their daily business.

When we heard there’s a group of Fleep users working to save the oceans, we knew we had to share their story. Naw is a group of freedivers based in Dubai and they’re pretty awesome. So awesome, we decided to do a video user story with them – check it out:

Thanks for sharing your Fleep User Story, team Naw! Keep it up – we have your back (and your dive logs). You can find all of our featured user stories under the Fleep User Stories category. Make sure you also follow Fleep on Twitter (#fleepstories) and Facebook to keep an eye on our news and updates!

Chat for teams

Fleep User Story: Elektritakso

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that showcases all the cool people, teams and companies that use Fleep in their daily business.

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A few of the fleeping taxi drivers of Electric Taxi!

Elektritakso (“Electric Taxi”) is an Estonian taxi company that is revolutionizing the world of taxi service with electric cars. This innovative taxi company started in 2012, and it has already grown to employ more than 100 people!

Today, Elektritakso does business in three towns in Estonia – Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. They operate on a fleet of Nissan Leafs and even a Tesla Model S! Guess what they use for daily communication? Fleep of course! We’re so glad to be a part of their daily business of eco-friendly taxi innovation! In this Fleep User Story, Kristjan from Elektritakso shares how they use Fleep…

IMG_5308How did you find out about Fleep?

Word of mouth! A friend of a friend of mine is a developer of Fleep and when I heard about Fleep, I looked into it to see what it is. We then realized it serves our communication needs better than Skype, which we had tried using in our taxis.
We decided early on we wouldn’t be using radio communication in our taxis – instead, every car has a tablet and that’s what we’ve always used for assigning jobs and communication.

How does Elektritakso use Fleep?

While we use a different software for assigning jobs and rides, Fleep is there for effective conversations and for sharing important information quickly. There has always been a need for a chat messenger in the field of taxi service – and frankly, no other application has worked as well as Fleep, which was built for conversations. It works especially well for group conversations.

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Every car has its own Fleep account and they are organized into group conversations by city. These group conversations primarily serve the purpose of sharing information – about traffic for example, or when someone’s ride is taking longer than expected. There are some one-on-one conversations too, between the cars, but since these are set up by car (not by driver) they’re not private conversations.

What do you like about Fleep?

Our favorite part of Fleep is that it’s very convenient for group conversations. But we also like the File Drawer feature and the possibility of disclosing the message history to new members in the conversation.

Do you have any Fleep tips to share?

I would really recommend trying out the possibility to send out and receive emails in Fleep. Even if you think you don’t need it, you should give it a go. It’s a new kind of approach to email conversations, and it’s worth trying out!

To whom would you recommend Fleep?

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Everyone who needs group conversations – for example, teams in the workplace, but also groups of friends and people connected through hobby clubs and organizations.

We know which taxi service we’ll be using from here on out…  Thanks for telling us your Fleep User story, Elektritakso! You can find all featured user stories under the Fleep User Stories category. Make sure you also follow Fleep on Twitter (#fleepstories) and Facebook to keep an eye on our news and updates!

The Case for Remote Work

What does it mean to be working? Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress, discusses in this video interview with Lean Startup:

We have, like, this factory model, where we think someone’s working if they show up in the morning and they’re not drunk, or they don’t sleep at their desk, or they leave at the right time, and they’re dressed nicely, or whatever.

But that has so little to do with what you create. And I think we all know people who create a lot without fitting in those norms.

Today, there are two kinds of companies: the ones that accept and accommodate remote work, and the ones that don’t. In our experience at Fleep, location does not determine levels of productivity. Our team is split between two towns, and all of our team members work remotely every now and then. We even have a helpful Fleep conversation dedicated to team whereabouts:

remote work team whereabouts

We’ve found it is more useful to measure results, rather than people’s ability to turn up at 9am and stay in the same seat until 5pm. How do we do it? We Scrum it.

Scrum is an agile way to manage and measure work. The methodology, with its daily stand-ups (that we do virtually, with a bot reminding us to post ours daily – to type up our daily accomplishments and goals in a dedicated team conversation), helps prevent many challenges in the workplace. Scrum helps track responsibilities and progress. It helps prevent employees from feeling overworked and under-appreciated, and gives everyone in the team an overview of what and how much work people are really doing.

remote work scrum

Allowing for remote work and flexible hours also helps with the company culture and employees’ happiness. Knowing that you can set your own schedule or take a break to go to the dentist without getting it signed off makes life way less stressful – and means employees aren’t worrying about how to manage their personal lives.

These are some of the (many) reasons that Matt Mullenweg of WordPress decided to opt for a totally remote workforce.

remote work“I don’t really care when you work, how late you sleep, whether you pick up your kids from school in the afternoon,” says Mullenweg. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all about your output. Maybe someone can do the same work that most of us do in eight hours in one hour – and good for them!”

He believes that this approach has helped Automattic, the creator of WordPress, to grow from a geeky kid’s bedroom project to running 50% of the world’s biggest websites in under a decade. By giving employees freedom to create and simply focusing on results, he’s built a team of creative ninjas that do great work without the office politics.

While many people were skeptical about whether Automattic could thrive with a purely remote workforce, Mullenweg proved them wrong time and again.

“Still, to this day, people say, oh it’s gonna break!” laughs Mullenweg, who now employs more than 275 people.

They say, ah, that works great when you’ve got 10 or 15, but when you get to 30 people, it falls over. Oh, you’ve got 30? 100 is the magic number… We’ve kinda blown past all of those.

But with so much trust on offer, how do you make sure you’re not employing slackers?

remote workingLike many CEOs that hire remotely, Mullenweg says that he asks all new recruits to complete a paid trial period before they even think of handing in their notice at their current job. Newbies work part-time in their evenings and weekends, and only those that can handle the self-reliance make it through to the team.

This, he says, means that you only hire talented people who value “autonomy, mastery and purpose”.

In other words, the kind of people that can transform a fledging startup into a billion dollar enterprise like Automattic.

So don’t just take it from us, take it from one of the world’s most brilliant and creative tech companies – focus on the results, not the hours clocked in.

As Mullenweg says, 11 years on:  “It’s working great and I honestly can’t imagine working any other way!”

Chat for teams