No matter your career stage or season of life you have a circle of influence. Think of it like a rock being tossed into a quiet lake and watching the resulting ripples spread once it hits the water. 

As you think about your 360 circle of influence it can be broken down into three categories:

  • Leading Down – Influencing those who report to you and their peers. 
  • Leading Across – Influencing your peers and perhaps their direct reports
  • Leading Up – Influencing your chain of command, their peers, and upper-level support functions. 

We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years covering how to lead your team well, (with resources at the end of this article) so today we will focus on adjacently down – influencing your direct reports’ peers.

Show them the same care and respect that you show your own team

It’s interesting how many leaders overlook this behavior, but this is a wonderful opportunity for you to influence a person or an additional team in a positive way. If you regularly interact with a different team or group as part of your work, take the time to get to know them on a personal level, and show an interest in what they have to say and the work that they do. 

When you show other teams the same level of care that you do your own, you are either reinforcing the strong culture and Values of the organization or you are showing them that not all leaders at your company are poor leaders. Either way, you and others win as a result. 

Be a connecter for adjacent teams


Your team’s peers may not be afforded the same opportunities to network and connect with others in order to make their job easier and open up potential new career paths. A leader that truly stands out is one that is a connector – They connect people across the organization. The larger the organization the more valuable that this skill becomes. 

Open up your internal network for others and assist them in making those needed connections. Your team’s peers will be more productive and happy and your business will run more effectively as a result. 

Be an advocate and cheerleader for them with their leader

You may not be able to influence their compensation, but you can spotlight and advocate for them with their leader and your peers. Taking a moment to recognize a peer’s team member does two things. 1) It builds positive sentiment about the person and recognizes them in a larger audience and 2) It makes that leader feel good about their own team and leadership as well. 

What if I’m just starting out in my career?


Even without direct reports, you still have a bottom to your circle. For new professionals, your customer/patient/client is your bottom. You influence them in their buying decisions, their health decisions, and/or their business decisions. Many people at this level have more influence than they give themselves credit for. You are directly impacting and influencing others in a meaningful way. 

Leading down to direct reports resources


If you want additional resources to help you lead your team (directly down) check out some of these shows and pages. 

Strengthen the influence in the bottom half of your circle by slowing down to spend time with those other teams, connect them to other people and resources, and lift them when you speak with your peers. The next generation of leaders will see and aspire to your leadership style. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH