Levers to Pull to Influence Leaders
Sometimes we get caught up with leadership and feel like it’s a big, messy and confusing thing. But, while leadership is not easy, it is simple. It’s all about influencing people.
Some of the best leaders don’t just command; they inspire, persuade and encourage people. They tap into the knowledge and skills of those around them.
One way to do this is to figure out what makes people tick. What drives them? Is it getting a weekly paycheck? Connecting with the team and getting awesome results? The organisation’s vision or mission that allows them to make a massive impact on the world?
Here are five essential skills and attributes so you can enjoy significant organisational reach and influence:
1. Cultivate your personal brand
Consciously and proactively manage your personal brand and reputation.
Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not there. It’s made up of key elements such as:
● how you present yourself.
● what you say and what you don’t say.
● who you associate with.
● what you stand for.
● what you represent.
So, make sure that what you put on your socials is aligned with how you show up.
2. Be positive and proactive
People with a can-do attitude fulfil their obligations. They act with positive intent towards others, the business and the industry. Going one step further, an influential leader is seen as the go-to agent who helps others out and finds solutions for them.
These attributes mean many others are keen to be associated with them.
So, it’s vital to build a strong reputation founded on great competence and a reliable can-do attitude. When you say you can do something, you need to make sure you can actually do it.
You don’t need to know how to do everything, though. Absolutely not! But you also need to be aware of what you’re not capable of. Then, find people that can do it and will help you fulfil your obligations.
3. Leverage the power of internal and external networks
I’m sure you’ve heard this business saying before: “A leader’s net worth is their network.”
If you possess an extensive personal and operational network, use these contacts not only for your own benefit but, more importantly, for the benefit of the team and the business.
This skill goes beyond being well-connected on social media. These are actual real-life relationships with people. Of course, these days, if you can’t meet in real life, jump on a Zoom call. But always remember that influential leaders really know people and people know them.
4. Make time for people
Since I’ve touched on it, influential leaders take time to get to know people because they have a genuine interest in them.
Actively cultivate friendships. Cut through and across bureaucratic layers that may become blockers, so people get the answers to key questions in minutes, not days.
Remember the law of reciprocity. If you continuously provide support and information to your network, then people are more likely to help you when you need them.
5. Use influencing techniques
Employ several subtle influencing techniques and behaviours such as:
● Start a kindness circle. Go out of your way to help someone, especially those who have been kind enough to help you.
● Remember that position and influence are not interchangeable. Your title may mean that people report to you, and it may give you the power to control your actions. But getting a position of authority does not mean people will automatically respect and follow you. You need to produce results, create change and build trust if you want to be an influential leader.
● Focus on the heart rather than the brain. Sadly, most leaders are too busy trying to use their intelligence to impress people with what they know. Although the brain is a very important part of influence, it only validates what the heart believes. Emotions are some of the most powerful forces that drive people to buy a product or a service.
● Respond instead of reacting. When someone says something negative about you, the normal reaction is to give a stinging reply. To influence people, though, you need to look after your emotions so you can remain neutral and objective. One of the best ways to do this is to practice meditation. Even just 5 minutes a day of meditation produces great results in terms of clarity and focus.
● Be glad for others in a genuine way. If you show gratitude for other people’s success, that is a great emotional space to be in. So, help people find their strengths.
● Choose happiness. Happiness is a choice. Wake up every morning and decide that you’re going to be happy with what’s going on with your life and your business. When you start doing that intentionally, you will have far more influence on the people around you.
If you pull the right levers, you capitalise on getting people on board and heading in the right direction. However, developing the necessary skills and attributes can take time and a lot of practice.
If you don’t know where to start or feel overwhelmed, then drop me a line so we can work on your journey together. I mostly hang out on LinkedIn. It’s a good place to start to amplify your presence and leadership brand.
Ally Nitschke is a Leadership Expert, Courageous Conversation Specialist and Speaker. She has been working with leaders and as a Leader for over 15 years. She is on a mission to change the way we communicate at work, to lean into those uncomfortable conversations and lead with courage. Ally delivers Courageous Conversations Programs, Courageous Leadership programs, Coaching, Mentoring and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.