Recall the best boss you’ve ever worked with. What made this boss better than everyone else? How did they bring out the best in you? Most likely, their influential attitude paved the way for success.
For anyone eager to know, effective leadership is made up of several components. It’s about adaptability and, most importantly, influence.
By definition, influence is the capacity to shape other people’s behavior in a specific way through vital strategies that engage, motivate, and connect with them. That’s not all, though. Leadership has a profound impact on employee engagement. And an engaged workforce is 17% more productive, garners 10% more positive customer reviews, and has 21% higher profitability.
All in all, influence is the secret sauce to outstanding leadership.
But learning how to become an influential leader can seem like an elusive idea. By arming themselves with the proper knowledge, any aspiring leader can master the art of influence. To that end, here are some practical tips on how to become an influential leader:
1. Show commitment
The road to becoming an influential leader is quite long, but one thing can help you get there more quickly: commitment.
Leaders who prove their dedication and commitment to their team members and organization can positively influence those they lead. In that regard, one of the first things you should work on is your communication skills. According to Great Results, effective communication improves talent retention by 4.5%. Furthermore, strong communication can foster collaboration, eliminate employee concerns, solve problems, and accelerate change. Business professionals and entrepreneurs can enroll in a communication and influence online course to hone their communication abilities and influence positive outcomes.
Apart from improving your communication skills, remember to have a consistent willingness to participate in activities that bolster an organization and embrace an attitude of achievement. Also, address your team’s concerns, encourage feedback, and motivate your team wherever and whenever possible.
2. Know your goals.
If you want your team to put in their best efforts and follow you as a leader, clearly expressing your goals for the organization is vital.
The trick is to be as specific as possible and describe how you plan to measure your goals. It will allow you to recognize and express other people’s roles in realizing this vision and their talents and limitations that may be helpful.
It can also assist you in determining whether a skills gap has to be filled during your upcoming hiring drive or corporate training initiatives. You will then motivate your team to work toward objectives advantageous to the company.
3. Establish credibility
Credibility is the ability to be believed or regarded as truthful or authentic. Employee tolerance, belief, and faith in the leader are frequently used to measure a leader’s credibility.
While personal credibility is relevant to everybody in the workplace, leaders should place a premium on it. How come? Because you cannot be an effective leader if your subordinates do not respect you as their boss. Employees will abide by the rules in these situations rather than make an effort and work for the common goal. Their enthusiasm will be low, and they’ll provide lousy customer service. Employee mistrust and alienation are caused by ineffective leadership, which affects the organization’s revenue and reputation.
According to research, a leader’s trustworthiness affects employee engagement, which influences the firm’s quality and productivity. So, if you want to be an influential leader, show some credibility, focus on long-term success, teach your workforce how to respond to trends, and be consistent.
4. Be approachable
Your time is spread out among many individuals as you rise to leadership. But to lead effectively, you must also make yourself approachable.
It’s a zero-sum game with the time you have. That’s the fundamental problem with leadership accessibility. You deprive other people and activities of available time when you devote your time to one person or activity. Accessibility for leaders becomes a tricky balancing act. To become a successful leader, you must be approachable in every way. Why? Since your people depend on you.
Effective leadership goes beyond being a faceless figurehead whose photo people may see on a board or website. An effective leader gets to know their team members, is ready to support them through unforeseen situations, recognizes their efforts, offers additional direction when necessary, and serves as the go-to person for any queries or concerns. You can only be any of these things if you’re approachable.
5. Be confident
The basis of influential leadership is confidence. A leader can learn how to coach, teach, hold team members accountable, handle problems decisively, improve communication, and do various other basic leadership tasks.
However, “authentic leadership” will only exist in the title if that leader first believes in themselves. In terms of leadership confidence, you must make the initial sale to yourself. It will be difficult or impossible to win followers if you don’t think you have the self-assurance to lead.
Confidence will make it easier for you to make difficult decisions, control meetings with authority, elicit open communication from others, and be receptive to constructive criticism. Without confidence, you will doubt your judgment and fail to defend your choices when they are questioned.
6. Embrace inclusivity
Inclusion ensures that the organization welcomes every person at every level. It’s also about discovering common ground among our differences, accepting them, and learning more about them to promote the shared principles that foster growth and talent recruitment.
According to UKG, employees with high levels of belongingness are more likely to perform well. To make that happen, a leader must emphasize individuality, making a concerted effort to understand and consider the realities and values of certain employees.
So, what can influential leaders do to embrace inclusivity?
As a general rule of thumb, leaders must exhibit inclusive behaviors. They must remember that not every employee shares the same viewpoints, talents, or experiences as others do inside the company.
7. Appreciate and reward your people
Becoming an influential leader also means appreciating your staff. According to leadership statistics, 79% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation. To avoid going down that route, be kind to your employees and acknowledge their efforts.
Frequently, acknowledgment also entails receiving money as a gift card, a bonus check, or a raise. While nothing is improper about these prizes, influential leaders must stand out from the average to value and recognize their personnel.
If a team member performs a remarkable feat, publicly thank them.
Here’s another idea: If you want to show an employee how much you appreciate them, give them a more challenging task. Choosing to oversee a significant project or solve a problem can make an employee feel proud, meaningful, and valued.
Ultimately, leadership is all about influence. It’s the most critical element in determining your impact on your people. While developing influential leadership is not simple, the above tips will help you polish your skills. You’ll eventually discover you are the effective leader you always wanted to be. Reaching this stage makes it simpler to deal with obstacles and make quick decisions.