John Maxwell once said, “If you think you are leading, but no one is following, you are only taking a walk.” That’s how most leaders operate in today’s day and age. True leaders influence others so they willingly want to follow. In this article, I’ll share with you 3 things you can do to increase your influential leadership skills.
Most leaders, whether in business, government, or non-profit, are short sighted. They are using outdated leadership tricks and tactics that don’t work today. That’s why you see leaders who exploit their authority to get their own way. It might work for a while; but never in the long run.
The key to being effective is to strengthen your influential leadership skills. In fact, that’s the shortest way to stand out and create impact as a leader. Why? Because not all leaders work on being a man or woman of influence. They work to be leaders in authority, not of influence.
3 Critical Factors That Will Boost Your Influential Leadership Skills
Being an influential leader doesn’t happen by chance. Rather, you develop it by design. It doesn’t matter how many people you have in your team. Whether you’re leading a small or a big team, these 3 factors will help you earn respect and influence in people.
Earn People's Trust
Influential leadership is all about earning people’s trust. Nothing worthwhile happens until your people trust you. Sure, they may work on their jobs. But they will never go far and beyond their job descriptions if they don’t trust you.
You see, trust is the bond that holds people together. With it, amazing things happen. Your team becomes more committed to the goal and they start to trust each other. As their trust grows, communication becomes better. In the end, you start hitting breakthroughs after breakthroughs in your company.
Let me ask you: how much trust does your team have on you? Can they trust your judgment? Does your team feel like you have their backs? Are you making them feel safe, supported, and taken cared of?
Trust isn’t built through team building activities. Not in trust falls, nor trust walks. It’s built through the small interactions with your team. It’s built in every meeting. Your people will trust you based on the words you say and the actions you take.
Now, it doesn’t mean that you need to please them. On the contrary, when they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions, you need to address that. But doing it in a way that’s making them feel respected and valued is important.
Build Your Credibility
Second, you need to build and show your people that you are credible. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most approachable supervisor, manager, or boss in your company. If your people can’t count on you, they’ll lose their trust in you.
Show your people that you are competent. Whenever they come to you for help, spend time listening and understand their concern. Don’t jump to conclusions and unload your “words of wisdom” without knowing where they’re coming from.
I can’t tell you how many relationships I’ve seen ruined because leaders don’t listen to their people. They get fixated on trying to finish the conversation because they need to attend to other things.
Remember, if you want to develop your influential leadership, listening is part of the job. In fact, ask more questions and spend 80% of your time listening to people. Especially when they come to you.
Why? Because you’re going to get the whole picture. You’ll understand where they’re coming from and in what state they are in. And when people feel like you listen to them, they’ll open up more. Once they open up more often, you’ll know exactly how to help them. In the end, you not only show your competence, but you’re strengthening their trust.
Nurture Your Relationship
The third critical factor you need to work on in improving your influential leadership is nurturing your relationship. When you build trust and you show that you’re credible, a strong relationship becomes a by-product.
You don’t have to force it. In fact, you don’t even have to spend all of your time attending to your team’s concern. As a leader, they know that you have a lot on your plate. But your relationship with people trumps everything else.
The fact is, people are willing to do more for you when you have a strong relationship with them. They give more effort, pay more attention, and do better work when you nurture your relationship with them.
Aside from that, having a strong relationship with your team and with each individual in it helps you. Especially during the time when you need to address any internal issues involving them. It also helps whenever you’re doing their performance appraisals.
Why? Because they know that you didn’t pull their appraisals out from thin air. You know who they are, what their strengths are, and what they’re doing. So they’ll be more inclined to listen to you.
Final Thoughts On Working On Your Influential Leadership
Working on these critical factors can make or break your leadership influence. As you intuitively know, people will obey your orders when you have the authority. But they will volunteer their strengths and talents when you influence them.
This is the best time to work on your influential leadership skills. Why? Because more and more people and companies are looking for leaders who will stand out. Leaders who can balance their care between their people and the company. And as an influential leader, that’s one value you can always bring into the table.
If you learned something from this article or you have additional opinions you want to add, share it in the comments below! I read each comment and I’m looking forward to interacting with you.