Effective leadership takes more than what meets the eye. Understanding individual and group dynamics is crucial and how to positively influence them.
The leadership style I love is to make people do what you want done without exerting force; where people follow and act willingly as to fulfill the your dream or the vision of the organisation. Without doubt, most people would want to lead in that way and it’s possible through learning the power of influence.
The world that we are leaders in has significantly, and continues to change and this change is driven mainly by people who have mastered the power of influence. What this therefore means is that every leader should re-tool, re-think and re-strategise or they face ill-retirement. It’s no longer business as usual, or about the position that one holds, but the acumen and intuition they possess.
Warren Bennis said it right in his book called On Becoming a Leader (1989). He succinctly pointed that, “Traditional leaders are having a hard time explaining what’s going on in the world, because they are basing their explanation on their experience with the old paradigm, and if you place the same set of events or facts in a different paradigm, you may not be able to explain them”.
One core driver of competitive leadership today is influence. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word influence as “the power to change or affect someone or something; the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen”. For this article lets tackle Seven drivers of influence: Congruity — People could be greatly engrossed by what you say but they respect what you do which backs your word-action. Walk your talk. Your works should be in harmony with or in agreement with words as a leader. You can’t do the opposite and expect to win.
Caring — for people you lead. People follow us mainly because we are considerate and they are bound to execute whatever we instruct them for the benefit of the organisation. Leadership is about the heart for people. Leadership is more that everyday office work and the articulation of the vision on paper. An adage says: People don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care. This is mainly your attitude you have towards people. Even if you don’t vocalise is people know it if you are not considerate. It’s just life perfume; it permeates the air without your effort.
Communication — The vision must be clear to the followers. The leader must learn to be articulate, clear and express their dream or ideas to the point. In the same vain the leader must be flexible enough to except and adjust to new ideas. This takes a communication skill called listening.
Creativity — The leaders must see beyond the everyday ordinary. He must learn the process of seasons and adjust or capitalise on them. Traditional leaders are left with old information that can no longer be relevant for our time, but creative leaders see in new ways. They are innovative and continually looking for new means of effective production.
Serving — This principle was taught by Jesus Christ to His disciples when he said “the greatest among you should become like the youngest, and the one who leads should become like the one who serves. (Luke 22: 26).
Integrity — learn to be a person of your word and people will trust enough to follow you. As a leader honour your promises and your commitments. People will always measure us by our level of personal integrity or character.
Mentoring — Growing other people makes you leave a lasting impression in their lives. Do not only seek to improve sales or production in your company, but improve the lives of other people as well. Some companies are afraid of sending their employees for seminars, refresher courses and to university as a means of enhancing their education, but they are doing it at the demise of their organisation. Great leaders are not threatened by people who want to enhance the education but should be afraid to walk into the future with uneducated folk. That’s the most dangerous crop of people to surround yourself with!
Maximising — on the potential of others. The purpose of a leader is to appoint the right person for a position. A wrong person in a position leads to underperformance. The right person for a wrong position breeds frustration. A right person in a right place leads to individual fulfillment and institutional success. Be a leader who has an eye for those latent powers in others and help them exploit them to the fullest.
Capitalising — on the social media. A new tool that most traditional leaders are grappling with is social media. A new market has emerged on this platform, but some have opted to ignore it. Social media enables extra-ordinary and immediate means of communication. The social media is prone to abuse, but as leader stick to your guns. Invest in your website, post quality messages, and think before you publish. These new tools include Google+, Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and a personal website.
Sincerity — The importance of contributors can never be under estimated as a result the leaders should appreciate the significance of people and their results. Secondly have faith in people and as a ripple effect they will have faith in you as a leader. Lastly, believe in the purpose of the team players.
Parting point: Dr. Myles Munroe says, “Leadership is the capacity to influence through inspiration motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by conviction, ignited by a purpose”. Make your mind today to succeed in your leadership endeavors. You have the ability either to create or crush your leadership prowess only in your cognitive sphere. Apply influence and you will find it easy to lead people towards a mutually desired goal. People are influenced and that is where success in leadership is.
lJonah Nyoni is an author, success coach, leadership trainer and public relations consultant.
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