Season 2

S.2 PT8 – Circles of Influence

It is important for us to focus our limited time and energy on acting where we can make a difference, rather than worrying about things we can’t influence. This activity, adapted from Stephen Covey, helps you to think about growing your circle of influence and reducing your circle of concern in the context of your workplace.


You reflect on your working life and decide on the areas you can influence and those you can’t, by using circle diagrams. You can work on your own, but this works better if you compare with a colleague or colleagues and brainstorm ideas together.

Step One

Look at how we can represent things that worry us in two circles, as in the top diagram. The circle in the centre is the circle of influence and contains elements in your life, in this case your working life, which worry you but you feel you have confidence or control over. The outer circle is the circle of concern. It contains elements which worry you but which you feel you cannot influence in any way.

Step Two

Draw two circles and write in some elements from your life. See the example below.

Step Three

Now reconsider your circles. Think about how you could expand the inner circle by moving some elements from the outer circle. To do this, you will have to think about ways you can influence those elements.

Step Four

Work with a partner. Discuss and help each other with suggestions.

Step Five

Draw two new circles, with the middle one expanded. The third diagram is an example of how the circles might be changed.

Step Six

Use the insights you have gained from this activity about influence to make decisions concerning how to build your influence at school.

Activity is taken from «The Developing Teacher» book by Duncan Foord

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