- There are several ways you can grow your influence as a leader at work, says career coach Melody Wilding.
- Expressing trust and understanding is key to inspire passion in your employees and team members.
- By earning loyalty and leading by example, you can steadily increase your level of influence at work.
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Influence — especially in the workplace — is about setting an example that inspires others to do as you do. The keyword here is, inspire. Influencing others isn’t about pressuring people to submit to your requests. Nor is it about manipulation.
Influence, at its core, is akin to persuasion in the most genuine form. It involves inspiring others by how you show up and how you make them feel by leading them.
So, how does a leader influence a team to work towards a vision, share their passion, and to get things done?
If you’re a sensitive high-achiever (or what I call a Sensitive Striver), then you already have the tools that other less-sensitive leaders may not. Your team will understand that you care about their values as much as your own, because of your ability to read them and to feel how they are feeling.
Your strength in empathy gives you a boost because you know what matters to your team. This creates a space of connection, understanding, and trust. With that as your foundation, your success in influencing as a leader will shine.
Leadership by influence: 4 essential aspects to increasing your influence in the workplace
Once you have a solid base of trust and connection with your team, you can strengthen your ability to influence and further your success as a leader. Here are a few key skills to increase your level of influence:
1. Be transparent
To increase your influence in the workplace, you must remain open and honest. It’s important to allow others to voice their questions and concerns and to answer them with transparency. Being honest is easy when there is good news to share, yet remaining 100% honest when the news is bad can be difficult.
The best leaders are transparent in all instances. If a question is posed that you are not prepared to answer, say, “I want to be sure to have all of the correct information before I answer that. Let me check the facts and get back to you by the end of the day.” Be sure to follow-up as soon as you can address their question. Answer with positivity and openness, and you will achieve a team committed to you and your goals.
As a Sensitive Striver, if problems do arise, your ability to communicate with empathy will be a guiding light for the rest of the team.
2. Inspire loyalty
Inspiring a sense of commitment from your team is vital to successful leadership and influence. This can be accomplished by motivating and improving the working lives of your employees. Look for and speak to their accomplishments. Understand that your success also lies in the quality of people that you help advance within the company.
If someone in your group is going above and beyond in their role, acknowledge them. The pride you take in your team’s successes not only motivates your team but inspires deep loyalty to you as their leader, which is the best use of your influence in the workplace.
3. Lead by example
Sensitive Strivers don’t fall short on determination. Lead by example by staying confident and focused on the end goal. A leader crippled by self-doubt or deterred by setbacks sets an uneasy tone and can contribute to chaos among the team. When a problem emerges (which you have most likely played out in your head), keep a steadfast and positive attitude. This is important, though difficult, especially if your reputation is on the line.
If you see yourself struggling to maintain or regain positivity, take a moment to remind yourself that you can change your mindset. Your attitude is your choice, and your team will mirror that behavior. Turning obstacles into unprecedented opportunities generates a collective calm that is nothing short of inspiring.
4. Beware the perfectionism pitfall
Sensitive Strivers tend to be perfectionists. Your impeccable attention to detail and ambition to keep going until it’s “flawless” contribute to your success. Yet, at other times, your need to do things “right” can fuel anxiety. As Brené Brown says, “Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.”
Carrying your expectation of perfection over to the team you are trying to lead will decrease your influence in the workplace and chip away at the group’s morale. To avoid fallout, stay focused on what is working, and what you can control. More likely than not, the end goal is still intact.
The ability to influence others is one of the most essential qualities a leader can have. Taking the time to learn the steps of influencing others intelligently and ethically, will improve your success as a leader, and that of the company’s.
Sensitive Strivers, you have a leg up in the world of influencing people. Your high emotional intelligence, your passion, and your drive will set you apart. You will be a leader who brings people together with a common goal and will inspire your team to get things done and done well.
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