Leaders quickly learn that they can’t bend people to their will. They can give an order but the team might choose not to obey. Something just doesn’t work…
If you look at the key words in the that last paragraph you will immediately see why those leaders are unsuccessful.
“Bend people to their will.”
Those words don’t belong in the language of leadership. They are about power, and every good leader knows that you can’t seize power; it has to be given to you.
So what does the new leader do? They start to learn about the importance of influence. Without the ability to influence a team towards a common goal, a leader is going to struggle.
Here are 6 techniques, which will help you develop or increase your ability to influence your team.
- Be pro-active. Don’t wait for others to make things happen. Let your team see you doing things, not just talking about them. Action creates more action. When you move, the team will gradually follow. Your behaviour has a direct influence on theirs so model the behaviour you want them to adopt.
- Be positive. It’s easy to slip into the negative if things aren’t going smoothly but that’s not going to lead your team where they need to go. Show them where they are going and why. Paint the picture for them so clearly they can see it. Then look for the positive in a given situation and link it to the vision of the future. Positivity is empowering and it is energising, and there’s a good side to almost everything. It’s your role to show it to those who can’t see. Don’t forget your emotions are contagious! It’s called Mirror Neurons.
- Be part of the team. “Leaders” who set themselves apart from the team are never quite trusted or respected. You can’t really lead if you’re not part of the team. Your ability to influence others needs to be built from the ground up and that means proving yourself as a team member.
- Acknowledge your team’s effort. If you don’t acknowledge the effort your team puts in, why would they keep doing it? Eventually the members will leave to find places where they are appreciated. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way – it gives the brain oxytocin! That amazing bonding chemical. It shows your awareness as well as your appreciation, and human nature makes us want to work harder for the people who appreciate it.
- Listen. There is a lot of noise around you when you are a leader. Information comes at you from all directions but it’s vital that you listen to and hear what your team members are telling you. Your ability to influence springs from your understanding of what drives the individual, and you’ll discover the motivators through listening.
- The Why. If you haven’t had a chance to read or watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start with the Why, please do so. When we focus on the Why not the what and the how (even though these are important) you are tapping into and influencing the limbic part of the brain, the emotional and feeling part of the brain. What’s your WHY? And have you translated this Why and driven your business strategy into personal concepts?
Each of these techniques contributes to your level of influence both within your team and amongst your colleagues or industry networks. They are seemingly simple but they are the first things to be forgotten when the pressure is on. Practice these techniques so they are part of your natural behaviour and your influence will grow stronger and stronger.
Don’t forget you can learn anything, as long as you put practice and focus into it. Neuroplasticity! Influencing is a key leadership secret skill, and I know it is my secret skill in terms of truly empowering and inspiring others…don’t tell anyone. Okay, to be honest, I would love you to tell everyone and it starts with you demonstrating your own great influencing skills.
Now it is not a secret anymore.
Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you develop your leadership secret skills so that you can change yourself, your team and the world!
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