If you want to be influential, you have to understand the questions people are asking in the back of their heads. I was joined by Ed Tate and Ed Oakley on the show where they discussed how you have influence when you don’t have authority. Here were a few of my takeaways.
Why do you care? If you need to influence and lead people, it’s important for them to understand why you care. Before you ever talk about what you need from them, be authentically interested in them. Be interested in the work they do and how their position fits in the bigger picture. This reassures them you understand their current demands and their contribution to the workplace. Additionally, show a human interest in them. Realize they do have a life outside of work.
Who are you? It’s hard to get on board with a vision if you don’t trust the leader. Be vulnerable and transparent. Let the team know your agenda and what makes you tick. If they engage with you as a person, they will more likely engage with the work.
Are you listening? It’s easy as a leader to do more talking than listening. Very often communication can end up feeling more like a directive. When trying to engage people in the workplace, take time to solicit their feedback. Hear their concerns and ideas. Whatever you do, don’t just give them lip service – pretending to listen but not authentically responding. Hear what they say, and respond appropriately.
What’s in it for me? Take some time to let people understand what’s in it for them. It may be intrinsic value, and they may not even verbally articulate what it is. The important thing is to help people connect what they are doing to the individual level.
In today’s world influential leadership is becoming critical. Often we don’t have direct authority over the people who we need deliverables from. Learn to become a person of influence.
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.