- October 18, 2019
- Posted by: Alyson Van Hooser
- Category: Communication Skills, Leadership
Leading a diverse workforce to massive success can feel really difficult sometimes, right? I want you to know that you are not alone, and I am going to help you ignite your bottom-line business results. In today’s world, influence equals power. To harness your power to drive profits through your people, let’s talk about practical, tactical ways you can increase your influence with them.
Influence Equals Power
Regardless of whether you are working with a GenZ or a Baby Boomer, a man or a woman, your boss or your employee — leaders must be able to create influence with them all so they can drive their performance in the right direction. Meaningful influence is not freely granted because of your title or position in the organization’s hierarchy. Instead, influence is earned. Here are three ways to strategically earn a powerful influence with your people.
Be Strategic With Your Words
No matter who you are or where you are from, everyone wants to work with people they trust. Without trust, it’s impossible to influence people to move in the way you want.
How do people gauge how much they will or won’t trust you? The answer is simple — your words.
As soon as you say something, there is no going back. Think of your words like a bottle rocket. In case you have never used fireworks, a bottle rocket is a small rocket attached to a stick. The fuse is short. Typically, people place the rocket in a bottle (hence the name), light the fuse, and when the flame reaches the rocket, the rocket will shoot up into the air in the direction it was placed in the bottle.
Here is what you can control when it comes to the bottle rocket:
- Where you place it.
- When you use it.
- How you deal with the aftermath.
If you place the bottle rocket in the wrong place or direction, it might shoot off and cause harm to someone or something. If you use fireworks at the wrong time, you might upset your neighbors or ruin the fireworks show. When you shoot off a firework, there will be trash. If you do not pick up the trash, you may lose the ability to be able to shoot off any fireworks in the future.
When it comes to your words, similar to bottle rockets, you can control:
- Where you use them.
- When you use them.
- How you deal with the aftermath.
Certain things should be said at certain places. For example, maybe you have heard this phrase: “Praise in public. Punish in private.” If you blow someone out in the wrong place, they might lose all trust in you as their leader. You can control where you use your words. If you use them in the right places, you will create trust.
Over the years I have seen this to be true, oftentimes the smartest and most respected person in the room is the quietest. It is impossible for people to not listen and consider what they say because every time they talk, they add value. You can control when you speak. If you make your words count, you will create trust.
When you shoot off the rocket, when you say the words, your employees will immediately begin processing what you’ve said and how it affects them and what it means about you — that’s the aftermath. You have to choose to be aware of the impact of your words and cleanup any misunderstandings or wrong interpretations. If you don’t, your people will lose trust in you. Although, when you do choose to effectively deal with the aftermath of your words, you can create and/or maintain trust in the relationship.
Be smart about where, when, and how you use your words so you can build trust with them. Trust is critical to creating a powerful and positive influence among your people.
Set Strength-Based High-Performance Expectations
Effective leaders put the right people in the right positions. When you align a person’s strengths with the job responsibilities, you are creating a foundation for success. The next step is to set specific strength-based high-performance expectations.
People are more likely to meet high expectations when they are positioned based on their strengths. There is research to prove it:
“The relationship between strengths-based employee development and performance at the individual and work-unit levels is substantial and generalizable across organizations.” Gallup, 2019 (Meta-Analysis can be downloaded here.)
When you set strength-based high-performance expectations and someone becomes a more successful version of themselves because of it…their loyalty to you will grow, their engagement with you will increase, and they will allow you the power of becoming very influential in their life.
Serve Them With Development Opportunities
Your best employees want to grow personally and professionally. If they are presented an opportunity to grow — whether it is in knowledge, skills, position, etc. — they’ll likely take it. Because today’s market is an employee’s world, you better make sure you are the one giving them the most opportunities for the best growth. If not, you might not only lose influence with your employees, you might lose them to your competitors, too.
Give your people access to more information. Decide to send them to that conference. Invest in training to help them be successful. Create a new position to give them additional responsibility. Whatever the opportunity may be — options are limitless — if you are the person opening doors for them, your influence will grow with them.
Does your team — new and not-so-new employees — need leadership training? Let’s talk!
Your power to drive results will not happen automatically or accidentally. Influence equals power. Influence is created through strategic action. Choose today to take action on the three tips we just discussed.
- Speak on purpose.
- Start developing a deeper understanding of your people so you can create strengths-based high-performance expectations.
- Serve your people by giving them growth opportunities.
Those strategic actions will help you as a leader increase your influence to drive bottom-line business results!
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