Influence to be effective as a leader

Motivate and inspire people from a position of influence rather than authority.

For most of my career, I was responsible for one or various departments within the organization. During that time, I share a vision with my team and work alongside them to make it a reality.  When things did not go as planned, I always had the option to use my authority to change course.  But when I started to learn about continuous improvement, I realize that CI is a peoples’ system.  The leaders’ job is to care about your team and help them grow and learn new skills.  Therefore, you do not want to use your authority to achieve things.  You want to use influence to motivate and inspire your team.  In other words, I had to learn how to use my authority less and use my influence power more.  

Influence as an effective way to gain followers

Effective leaders must be able to influence others’ behaviors.  Power is the ability to influence others to behave in a particular way.  When leaders are looking for support, the right way to gain it is from a position of influence rather than authority. Using your influence power, you can motivate your team and inspire them to learn and do new things.

What you need to be able to influence

When you are not honest, many people can see it through you.  Therefore, if you want to motivate people from an influence position, honesty is a critical ingredient.  Be authentic and sincere about your intention and goals.  Convince people to collaborate by explaining to them the complete picture. First, communicate why you want to do it.  Second, explain the pros and cons of the proposal.  Third, let them know what is in it for them.  That information is always critical to gain support.

A good leader practices those behaviors or attitudes that he or she is asking the team to have.  Be fair and flexible, do not ask the team to do something that you are not willing to.  Roll up your sleeves and work alongside them to figure out the best way to do it.

The future is in your hands

Provide your team with the goal, a collective vision of where the company will be in the future.  Once they know the target, empower them to find answers by themselves.  Coach them to find those answers but let them figure them out.  Remind them of the vision to ensure alignment between those goals and the company’s vision.

Your actions determine the future of the company.  The way you choose priorities and work to achieve targets is critical to success.  Moreover, how do you treat your team is the secret ingredient for a successful company.  Motivate and inspire from a position of influence rather than using your rank in the organization.