“Leadership is influence.” — John C. Maxwell
If you bring out the best in people, inspire others through your actions and influence them to follow you, you are a leader.
Influential leaders have the ability to make things happen, they are able to influence the ideas, thoughts, opinions and behaviours of others in order to achieve desired outcomes.
Title is not synonymous with influence, successful leaders become influential via their likability, authenticity and behaviour.
There are a few ways to build your leadership influence:
Create stronger connections
Your success as a leader largely depends on how well you relate to others and the quality of the working relationships you build. It’s easier to influence others when they trust you, trust is the backbone of healthy working relationships.
To create stronger connections with your team focus more on listening rather than commanding. Absorb the words and emotions of those around you.
People want to follow authentic leaders who show them they are understood and supported.
A strong, influential leader invests time in discovering their core values. They stand up for what they believe in, are not afraid to take risks and they stand by their own decisions and the decisions of their team. Courageous, authentic leaders are best positioned to inspire loyalty and strong performances from people.
People are less likely to respect inauthentic leaders. In fact, the absence of personal identity is one of the top reasons why employees do not trust their leaders. And by the way, if we are to be authentic we also have to learn to manage ourselves appropriately to each situation.
Encourage others to find their own voice
The most influential leaders empower others by releasing authority and control. They enlist their team members as key collaborators.
Influential leaders understand the importance of putting the focus on others. Create the conditions in which your team feel free to speak openly and freely to find their voice in all things they do. In this way no vital information will be missed and good choices can be made.
Work directly with your team
Remain active in the daily workflow. Working directly with your team helps to establish stronger bonds and puts you in a stronger position to influence.
The collaborative leadership style makes you more relatable and easier to approach. This tends to foster innovation and a harmonious workplace.
Demonstrate your competence
Being good at what they do is not the only component that defines a leader’s competency. Their behaviour and leadership style also play a major role in determining the degree to which others see them as effective.
The most common issues attributed to incompetent leaders include:
● Limited communication
● Manipulative behaviour
● Continuous conformity
When a leader creates distance and limits communication, they struggle to cultivate trust. Some leaders shut themselves off from others, only providing input when necessary.
Others are guilty of the opposite. Instead of avoiding communication, some leaders are overly aggressive in their approach or constantly try to manipulate people through intimidation.
People do not respond well to these behaviours, resulting in a counterproductive management technique.
By remaining open, genuine, and supportive, you give your team a source of strength and confidence. These traits naturally encourage others to follow, making them essential to your ability to influence others.
Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at email@example.com.