The Power of Leading with Influence

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

The Power of Leading with Influence

Let’s consider leadership, specifically the way you lead your employees, by addressing a few basic questions…

  • On what do you base your authority to lead employees?
  • What is your style of leadership as you rally your employees to action?
  • How do you inspire your employees to strive to do the best work possible?

In order to be a highly effective leader, it’s important to give a significant amount of thought to these questions. The thought process behind these issues make up your managerial identity. That identity can, in turn, affect the ways in which you inspire - or don’t inspire - your team to greatness.

Who’s the boss - and why? Ideally, your authority to lead is based on a lot more than because you’re the one who’s in charge. Your experience, knowledge, technical and people skills and relationship with coworkers should all be considered in your perception of why you have the authority to lead. Those who take on the power of a managerial position without an examination of what got them there are failing to fully understand their role and responsibility as a leader.

Who do you lead - and how? There are many styles of leadership, from authoritarian to downright lax. What comes naturally to you may not be the most appropriate for the company, the job or your team. Your heavy-handed, hovering approach may make employees uncomfortable; while a laid back, super casual one may promote an unfocused atmosphere. It’s best to read the room and remain agile. It’s crucial that you discover a style that serves both your own nature and your employees.

What do you inspire - and how? The most inspirational bosses lead their team with focus, passion and authenticity. You have to set the example by demonstrating that there is purpose and satisfaction to be found in a job well done. You must be willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in with the rest of your team to achieve your shared goals.

It all comes down to leading with influence

No employees want to feel their duties are being dictated to them by an authoritarian entity. It’s difficult to respect a “because I said so” attitude from leadership because it demands blind obedience, which kills internal motivation. Working in such a stifling environment will surely limit creative thought, ambition and passion among the staff. Employees prefer to feel that they are complying with rules and assignments voluntarily. It sets them up to feel valued and energizes their efforts on the job.

Leading with influence means demonstrating the attributes and work ethic you value in your team. By modeling this mindset and these actions, you invite employees to follow your lead. They will feel confident that they’re working in a dynamic, healthy environment. Leading with influence, as opposed to leading from a sense of authority, provides reasons for your employees to respect the one in charge. This results in happier, more cooperative workers.

How can you lead your team with your influence?

  • Frequently ask yourself, “What would motivate me as an employee?” This is key to maintaining a realistic outlook on your role as leader. Call upon your memories of being an employee to determine positive ways to communicate to and inspire your team members. Chances are, if it motivated you, it will motivate them as well.
  • Know your stuff. Little is more disheartening to employees than a leader who is ill-informed as to the work being performed by the team. It will indicate a sense of laziness on your part and discourage employees. Maintain the level of education you need to stay relevant in the field, even if you’re not doing the work yourself.
  • Remember the high value of honesty, fairness and integrity. Since leading with influence involves setting an example for those you lead, the importance of these attributes cannot be overstated. You want your team operating with honesty, fairness and integrity, so you must always act according to these traits in your professional dealings.
  • Be part of the team. Avoid holing up in your office with the door shut all day every day. That’s a sure way to communicate that you feel superior to your team rather than an equal part of it. Although your contributions are intrinsically different due to your position, it shouldn’t mean that you avoid interaction with employees.
  • Gather - and act upon - feedback. You can’t lead in a vacuum - you need to know what employees are thinking. Having an open mind and being open to criticism is another way to demonstrate that you are working alongside your employees, rather than from above them.
  • Remain engaged and interested over time. An apathetic leader is an ineffectual leader. You can’t expect your team to keep up their level of interest day in and day out if you’ve already checked out mentally. They rely on your example to keep them focused and passionate about the work.

The power you wield when you lead employees with influence is great. You set an example they will respect, willingly follow and strive to excel under.

How do you lead your employees?

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