Leadership is the ability to get people to follow you, while influence is the ability to keep the people who follow you for an extended period of time. In addition, influence refers to the ability to put a positive or negative spin on the actions, behavior, and/or opinions of other people. In other words, influence is power and power is persuasion!
If a leader does not have influence over other team, then they will not have the power to persuade their team to complete the assigned tasks. However, influence and persuasion requires a foundation of trust. Without trust, employees are less likely to adopt the values, culture, and mission of the organization in a sincere, lasting way. Furthermore, since the ability to exert positive influence is something that is developed over time, learning to become an effective leader often takes years of experiences. Research has proven that all people have the ability to influence others, and every individual will lead someone-or multiple people-at one point or another.
One thing a leader must remember is that they do not know to what degree they are truly influencing others. Consequently, leaders must tread carefully, as they do not know how much others will do for them, nor do leaders know how much their team members will act just like them as the leader directs the members. Provided are the areas of power which will lead to persuasion, in which a leader can specialize in to increase their influencing skills:
- Expert Power – Power that is associated with the leader being an expert in several areas. The leader has attained more knowledge, degrees and accomplishments than anyone else in the group.
- Reward Power – Power that is associated with the leader giving out rewards. These rewards are related to the job such as: raises, bonuses, vacations, special recognition and etc.
- Coercive Power – Power that is associated with the leader penalizing the workers for not successfully completing the tasks. The employees often fear the consequences and what is expected of them. They employees are usually so scared of this type of leader that it effects the results of their performances. This power can form resentment and resistance from the employees.
- Reverent Power – Power associated with a leader when they have a strong effect on a person that will cause that person to have a direct attraction to the leader. The individual will basically do anything that the leader or the person with the power says, because they are so attracted to the leader’s power of authority.
- Legitimate Power – Power that is associated with a leader because they hold a leadership position. It is the power that comes from having a title or a position. This is called positional power.
- Gender Power – Power that is associated with the leader who is given power because of their gender status. Some of the times, the opposite sex will confer their power so that all genders will receive equal representation.
- Attitude Power – Power that is associated with the leader who has a positive and flexible attitude and can keep the team members balanced. This person is a peacemaker, and has great conflict resolution skills. On the other hand, it can be power that is associated with the person who became the leader because they have the strongest attitude or personality out of all the people in the group. This leader is usually the most aggressive, dominant, and talkative person in the group. Sometimes, they are voted to be the leader because the group members do not want to be attacked.
- Lack of Desire – Power that is associated with a leader because no one else has the desire to lead. This leader is in charge because no one else would like to be responsible for the duties and responsibilities. This leader usually does most of the work him or herself.
- Charisma or personal power – Power that is associated with a leader because of their charismatic personality. These leaders have charm, they are interesting, and they are amusing. They are voted to be the leader because the others feel that their work will be creative and exciting.
- Character or ethics power – Power that is associated with a leader because they are the most trustworthy individual within the group. This leader is given the position because he or she is a hard worker, reliable and responsible. Sometimes this leader will complete all of the work him or herself.
- Connection power – Power that is associated with a leader because they know a lot of people of importance. This leader is given the position, because he or she knows other powerful people who can help and give the organization a financial contribution.
An effective leader should be knowledgeable about the different types of power. This information serves as a self-assessment so the leader can review which sources of power do they current use at their organization(s). Leaders can also utilize this information so they can assess and identify the different types of power that their employees are currently using. Knowing this information will assist a leader with making major decisions. Persuasion The level of your influence and your power is dependent upon your persuasion skills. Being able to persuade another person will be determined by the success one’s educational, career, professional, and personal experiences. A person’s character and personality traits are very important when it comes to persuading others. How a leader communicates is vital when a leader has to persuade an employee. In other words, a leader’s skills, knowledge, and actions will determine is an employee has been persuaded, by the power of the leader whose influence motivated an employee to carry out the tasks.All leaders need to improve their persuasion skills of influences. Improving your persuasion skills will make you more powerful, and it will increase your level of influence. To improve your persuasion skills, please review the list and highlight the areas that you need to make self-improvements on:
Improve the following…
- Decision-Making Skills
- Communication Skills (Verbal/Non-Verbal)
- Conflict Management Skills
- Marketing and Media Skills
- Technology Skills
- Life Skills
- Knowledge of job duties and responsibilities
- Commitment and consistency
- Quality content and materials
- Trust and the building of new relationships over time
- Helpful work ethics
- A positive image and behaviors
Leaders should be able too…
- Understand the psychology of people
- Teach and develop others
- Show knowledge of how to motivate others
- Tailor meeting presentations accordingly
- Display a professional business model
- Repeat the vision and mission statements
- Discuss the facts – content is key
- Share good and related examples and stories
- Provide evidence that supports your position
- Understand the personalities of the team members
- Network and share ideas with other experts
- Make others become more successful
- Celebrate others’ success stories
- Get active in the community
- Find positive role models
- Study the main competitors
Leaders working on ways to influences others, must first work on him or her sources of power and persuasion techniques. For each situation, an effective leader should be able to identify which sources of power and persuasive methods should be used and which ones should not be used in order to properly improve their organization. Effective leaders need to know they can select another source of power and another persuasive method in order to get different positive outcomes and results. Leaders who master the ways to positively persuade their employees, find that once their employees understands the organization’s goals, and have a great relationship with the leaders, then the employees unusually comply and carry out the assigned tasks with no troubles. Remember when improving your Influencing Skills, you should work on your Sources of Power and Persuasion Skills, they do not work well without the other. In other words, when trying to improve in one of these areas, for better and quicker results, an effective leader should work on all 3 of the areas at the same time.