Leadership, Power and Influence
If you want to be successful in life – you need the skills to get things done smartly. It’s good you know how to make decisions, but that alone won’t make things happen - getting things done requires you to influence others.
The skills and knowledge you use to arrive at the best strategy is of no use unless you get the strategy implemented.
Your success depends on how well you influence others – for example in making changes, suggesting new ideas or generally winning the cooperation of other people.
So what is your leadership style?
1. "I make decisions without consulting my team." You should consider this when decisions need to be taken quickly, when there's no need for further input, and when team agreement isn't necessary for a successful outcome.
2. "I allow the team to provide input before I make a decision." This is important when you want the team to buy-into the decision, but if you get too many conflicting views and suggestions it can be difficult to manage, so you need strong influencing skills.
3. "I allow people in the team to make decisions." This works when the team has the skills, knowledge and behaviour to make the right decision and get things done. They need to be well motivated, but be careful to keep an eye on things.
Good leaders focus on three points of need for members of the team:
- The task to be completed
- Building the team
- Motivating individual members of the team.
The things you do at each point may vary, but the points are connected, so a good leader will allocate equal time to each.
- Task is about setting a clear goal and objectives, and planning the process.
- Team is encouraging effective interaction, support, communication, and sharing work fairly within the team.
- Individual needs will vary from person to person, but you need to be aware ofhow each person is behaving and feeling.
Types of Power
You may be able to get people to do things using your ‘power of authority'. For example; a judge, a general or a managing director….
But there are other types of power you can use:
- Personal - This comes from your personality, charisma or individual magnetism.
- Position - This comes from your position, rank or role.
- Expert - This comes from your knowledge and expertise.
- Coercive – When you exert pressure, domination or threats.
- Reward - Your ability to give some sort of reward.
- Moral - This is derived from good intentions, being just or virtuous.
- Social – Using your social influence, family connections.
Influence is when you change someone’s views, attitudes or decisions and therefore their actions. A good influencer understands people, how they think, what makes them tick and how to get on their wavelength.
Here are some popular influencing styles:
- Get emotional - blow your top, make people cringe.
- Be rational - present facts and logic
- Manipulate - pretend to involve people
- Mental torture - pester until they give in
- Inspire – get people excited about your vision
- Appeal to them - draw on their loyalty and friendship
- Flattery - pay people compliments, and butter them up
- Barter - do something for them in return, bribe them
- Pressure - get tough, use threats, demand action
- Legitimacy - claim your rights, use your authority, state the rules
- Coalitions - gang up on people, get your mates on your side, then get political
- Exaggerate – make it sound too good to be true
- Sulk – try and get sympathy.
But watch out for the downside…
- Push people and you get short term gains and long term losses
- Pressure gets immediate action but you lose credibility.
Best approach – Involve people…
- Try to understand other people’s needs
- Ask people how they feel about the task
- Develop joint solutions with people.