Getting your team to work towards a common objective requires not only leadership but a lot more than that. You need to drive the team towards working on achieving the task and this not only need alignment but you need to influence or persuade them too.
Are you an influential leader?
Regardless of what title you hold in your company, whether you are the GM or the MD or the CEO, you must first be clear about what you are trying out to achieve and what your aims are. You need to know what purpose you are chasing after and what results you want to obtain. That is where the power of influence comes into play. If you can do that, your people will listen to you and will trust you because their future would more or less depend on you.
Building your influence
You need to make this very clear, your title does not guarantee you can influence your team. Having the influence does not mean you are louder than everyone else. To persuade people, you need more than a loud voice. In fact, you might be surprise to find out that the most powerful influencers are those who are more soft-spoken because they can persuade others better than anyone else. Influencing people does not happen overnight, you need to work on it. You need to build it.
- First, you need to have a network, and one which trusts you. Basically, you need to build a network of people who trusts you. This simply means that you have a group of members who ‘listens’ to you. Build this network to be as large as possible. When you have this, you can simply decide what you can influence and what you cannot.
- Next, outline your thoughts and communicate them. Remember that you have a network of people who are listening. They are ready to listen, not believe. At least not yet! If you have an idea or a thought, you need to sell it to them. What you are looking for here are people who will support your idea. Basically, you are trying to sell your idea, not merely telling. You need to put on your ‘salesperson’ hat for this. Start from those who already have your buy-in and then spread it across your network.
- Be aware of what you are doing. Consider your own values and beliefs when you try to influence the people around you. From there, you can then judge if they are ready to accept your idea. In fact, you need to adapt to the different styles and needs of your network. Every level of people will have a different level of understanding and trust and you need to cater to all of them. This is a crucial step because you need to first believe in what you are selling before you can expect others to do the same. If you can make yourself believe in yourself, then you can start influencing others.
Influence or risk being irrelevant
In summary, what you need to be doing really is to set up your goal and objectives and then get everyone in your team on-board. As the leader, you need them to accept what you are doing and then work towards the common objective. If you have them on-board, you can sell your ideas better. You will all work towards that purpose. If you fail in this, then you might just be irrelevant and in the eyes of your team, non-existent. Once you lose that respect, chances are you will never ever gain it back!