Four factors that contribute to a leader’s ability to influence others.
Play • 21 min

1. Communication Style

Oral and written messages must be clear and specific. Employees generally want to do good work and align their priorities with what they perceive the leader wants. The more effectively a leader communicates his or her priorities, the more effort team members will contribute to accomplish them. Effective leaders provide clear and frequent communication regarding business priorities and convey information respectfully.  

Kathie's comments:

  • Continuous discussions around change and direction
  • Circling back on HOW you are doing and what do you need from me (without micromanaging)

2. Consistency

This factor can be a make-or-break trait. Is the leader consistent with their direction, how they treat people, their expectations and their approach to holding people accountable? Do they say what they mean and mean what they say? Do their actions match their words?

Team members closely monitor leader behavior and direction for consistency. Leader consistency enhances influence, because team members know what to expect and how to respond, and they understand the leader’s perspective. Alternatively, volatile behavior, inappropriate communications or lack of follow-through on assignments quickly inhibits a leader’s ability to influence. For example, if a leader meets with her team and tells them that finishing reports on time is important, and they see her turn in reports late, how seriously are they going to take her request? Let’s say another leader tells his staff that he has an “open-door” policy, but when they come to his office, he is short-fused and tells them they should not interrupt him. How likely are employees to come back and ask for assistance when they need it?

3. Compassion

Does the leader care about their team members as people, and do they convey their appreciation and interest in their success? Team members work harder and demonstrate a higher level of commitment to their leader when they feel that he or she cares about them and is interested in their success. Showing that they care about someone as a person and demonstrating that they are invested in their success strengthens the relationship and increases influence and commitment.

Feedback is most effective when it is recent and frequent. Additionally, leaders should ask staff members what their personal goals are and then help them create a plan to achieve them. If someone is facing adversity, their leader should keep an open mind. It is possible to be compassionate and still hold individuals accountable.                                                         

  1. Kathie's Comments 
    1. Walkarounds

    • Both of these skills allow you to feel the pulse and the energy of your teams and your management.
    • My own routine was simple- I was consistently in the office at least an hour before all other executives. This gave me the ability to walk the company and speak with the team leaders -both personally and professionally. I had my finger on the pulse almost 95% of the time- which means I was viewed as a key player for knowing.
    • I also walked around the offices (or made calls to the regional offices) at the end of the day…it allowed me to see if there was just one more thing that I could impact someone to ensure that their evening was free of stress or allow our conversation to prepare them for the next day.
    • Increase facetime- especially when there are now hybrid work situations.Because change for many is difficult and we are “routine oriented” thinking individuals, keeping people focused on the new vision is critical
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