John Maxwell says leadership is influence. If that’s true, then how does a leader develop that influence with the people he or she leads?
Here’s how I gain influence with my team:
Treat people professionally and with respect - I expect to be treated likewise, but for me to demand it without displaying it doesn’t build influence, it fosters control. (I wrote a post about that HERE)
Take risks on people and give opportunities to fail (or succeed) – Several on our staff started their ministry career with us…in large roles. I like placing faith in people. If a team member comes to me with a dream, I’ll try to help them attain it. The risk is almost always worth the return.
Recognize and reward efforts – I try to find ways to invest in our team, based on the individual needs and desires of the team member. I’ve been known to be creative in rewarding a team member for doing exceptional work. I’m also not afraid to single out exceptional work for individual recognition.
Allow them to know me personally – I’m transparent. I try to be clear about my weaknesses and own my mistakes. I’m also not afraid to be the brunt of the jokes.
Be approachable - I return phone calls and emails to my team quickly. They can get in touch with me and on my schedule before anyone other than my family. I keep the door open when I’m in the office and welcome walk-ins. (I have candy in my office too!)
Be consistent and reliable - I keep lots of lists so I don’t forget things I’ve committed to do. I have an Evernote folder with each team member’s name on it for things relative to them specifically. I don’t make many promises, but I try to honor my commitments, even when it’s costly at times. If I tell a team member I’ll do something, I make it a priority in my schedule until it’s accomplished.
Help others achieve personal success - I love to learn a team member’s goals and help them achieve it.
Keep in mind, I’m not perfect and this is not an attempt to brag about my performance. As with all my posts, I’m trying to be helpful in developing your leadership. If you read this blog regularly you know that one way I improve what I do is that I annually ask my team to evaluate me. (You can find out about that HERE and the consulting I offer in that area HERE.)
Of course, my team is free to comment on this post as well, so that should humble me. Most of what I’ve learned in leadership came from doing the wrong things first. I think it’s vital to a healthy team that the leader be continually conscious of his or her need for influence and ways to improve upon it.
You may also want to read my post 12 Ways to Keep an Organization Small
What would you add to my list?