Increasing your influence as a leader.

4 simple steps to increase your influence as a leader


When you think of influential colleagues, I bet you’re thinking about those who get everyone on side and working towards the same goal. Good leaders do exactly that. They are effective communicators, negotiators and persuaders, influencing both the performance of their team and the organisation they work for.

While we’re not all naturally born with this ability, we can develop influencing and negotiating skills that and make us more effective leaders.

4 ways to develop leadership and influence skills

1) Develop empathy

Part of understanding how to influence others is working out how they’re likely to react to your proposal. This allows you to tailor your explanation and sell your idea. Developing your ability to empathise with the concerns of your colleagues makes it much easier to gain their support.

2) Learn to be assertive

I recently discussed this in detail in ‘Walking the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness‘. Learning to be assertive doesn’t mean being a difficult colleague. Instead, being assertive requires you to listen to other people and communicate with them in a way that gets your point across without undervaluing their opinion. Expressing your take on a situation with confidence shows you are knowledgeable on the subject matter. Being polite about it means your contribution is much more likely to be heard and respected.

Influential leaders are assertive but also listen to others.Being an influential leader is about being assertive, but also knowing when to stop and listen.

3) Build trust

People are much more likely to listen if they trust you’re making the right decisions, for the right reasons. This takes time, but building trust through being a reliable, consistent member of the team is key to ensuring your colleagues believe in your ability to lead.

I once worked with a leader who was always around to the support the team, being flexible with his workload to ensure we achieved our goals. I had no doubt that he prioritised the wellbeing and effectiveness of our team over anything else. As a result, I felt sure that every decision or change he made was constructive and valuable.

4) Walk the walk

As with my previous example, when colleagues see you doing what you promised, or contributing to the overall effectiveness of the team, they understand why you’re their leader. No matter what qualifications or work experience you have, employees want to see you demonstrating results.

You’ll also gain much more influence when you have the respect of your whole team, rather than a few individuals. Stopping to ask how everyone’s weekends were and showing that you have their best interests at heart cultivates the type of team spirit you need as an influential leader.

At ICML, we believe that leaders benefit hugely from influence skills training. That’s why we’ve designed an influencing skills course available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Take a look at our offering today.

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