Many companies offer training for new management, tackling issues like human resource management and company policies but few of these organizations provide instruction on how to lead and influence those they manage. The best workplace leaders agree that the most effective leadership is the one where you get people to follow willingly, rather than forcing them with only authority. In most organizations, influential leadership is the most effective way to get everyone pulling in the same direction with very little or no effort.

It is difficult to know how to develop the skills you need to use influence rather than power but let’s look at three highly effective ways to build influence to enable your team to work better under you;

Study and know each member of your team—FULLY!

Everyone is unique in their own way. How we receive and process information most of the time is driven by our personality. As an influential leader, you are obliged to tailor your communication or engagement approach to the individual, based on their personality and not “beat” them into learning your style instead for example; if you are dealing with employees who have a “driver” personality i.e. results-oriented people. They can become bored & frustrated with long discussions and pondering on issues. Instead, they will respond faster (and better) to direct, results-oriented communication.

Long winded discussions may be better suited for workers who are “analytical.” This personality type is systematic and structured in the way they approach work. They love to go over as many facts and data before deciding, and are not easily moved by feelings and emotions.

Understanding the personality styles you are working with will help you tailor your message when trying to influence people towards action or change. You will also find it easier to build stronger relationships with your team if you understand what triggers them and what can drive them to act according to your plan.

Always be accessible

Granted, being accessible may be difficult for first time managers who are used to working independently, having only ever been accountable to their former managers but it helps to be a leader who is easily accessible in your office. You must also actively seek opportunities to support your employees’ efforts.

A good leader is accountable to everyone they manage and accessibility is crucial to building trust in management-employee relationships. Proving accessibility can be as simple as you moving away from your desk to visit employees at their work stations for a quick chat regularly, genuinely inquire about how they are doing and offer real solutions where you can.

Gratitude & humility

The whole point of being an influence is so you can rally others to cooperate with you and match your zeal for whichever mission you intend to accomplish. As such, great leaders recognize that no success is achieved alone. While the recognition of others is essential, gratitude and humility continually demonstrated by leaders inspire others to act stronger and perform better. When you acknowledge you are unable to act alone, while showing appreciation and humility for those doing the work, you encourage more focused, deliberate work from engaged employees.

Humility is about understanding that no matter how experienced you may be, you recognize that improvements are always possible. Humble people are always learning, always growing.

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