Influence and Today's Leaders

Influence and Today's Leaders

Leadership training has always been conducted face-to-face, and all tactics—seeing a coaching opportunity, giving praise, talking about performance issues, motivating a team, and on and on—have been instructed to be delivered face to face.

So what does a leader in today’s workforce do, when, often times they don’t see the people they lead face-to-face on a regular basis?

They adapt.

Leadership is transforming from a “manager” role to more of an “influencer” role. Influence breeds loyalty and having influence is more than just being someone’s boss. To be influential, one must now be perceived as a thought leader in their industry as well as extremely supportive of someone else’s development. This challenges today’s leaders, who have learned to focus on being excellent at what they do; they must now be equally concerned with how to influence others to excellence.

Consider loyalty in today’s economy:

According to a recent poll of HR professionals and millennials, 82% of Millenials rate themselves as “loyal” to their employers, yet only 1% of HR professionals agreed with that assessment!

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What causes this huge gap? It is caused by the definition of “loyalty.”

Loyalty today has been reframed. Instead of being loyal to your employer, you are loyal to individuals. This is why we see a single employee leave a company for a new opportunity, followed immediately by those who reported to them.

This is where being an influencer is becoming so important.

So what does it take to be an influencer?

It’s not hard, but takes time and planning. Here are some tactics to be a strong influencer/leader in your organization.

  1. Start with why.
    • When assigning tasks, recruiting for new projects, or asking someone to do something, start with “why.” This is important to you, the person you’re assigning, and your company. When you start with “why,” people buy in on a deeper level.
  2. Write and promote good content.
    • If you are an expert in your field, you need to show that you are an expert. You need to be developing content and share it via LinkedIn, blogging, SlideShare, etc. You will be amazed at how many people will follow your content and share it with their peers. Curating good content through social media further establishes you as this expert. Those who follow you want to know that you are staying up to date with the current trends of the industry. Think about it: who would you want to learn from, someone whose knowledge of an industry is outdated? Or someone who knows what is happening and what it means for the future?
  3. Run good conference calls.
    • Seriously…run a good conference call and you have people’s ears. How often do you do email while “participating” in a call? Study after study has shown that people are not actually capable of doing two things like this at once, yet we continue to think we can. Here are a two tips on how run a great conference call:
      • Start on time and never ask “who just joined.” Then send a recap email of who was there for the roll call at the beginning of the call. Book 1 hr or 30 min calls, but only run them for 50 minutes, or 25 minutes. This will allow other people to get to something else.
      • Put people’s names BEFORE questions. “Suzy (pause), what do you think about the changes?” You will be amazed at how much faster people answer instead of, “(fumble noises with the phone) I was on mute, could you please repeat the question?”
  4. Get in a routine of meeting with your direct reports on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Get the events on a recurring calendar invite. If you wait to schedule it the week prior, it will never happen. Here’s what we do that has worked well for us:
    • 1 hour long monthly check-ins to talk and catch up.
    • 6-hour long off-site all-hands quarterly retreats.
    • 1.5-hour long semi-annual performance reviews.
    • 2-day long off-site all-hands yearly retreats.

Leadership today is being redefined.

Remember:you aren’t a leader unless others actually follow you- so what are you doing that is worthy of being followed?

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