Leadership is not about position. It is not about power. Leadership is about influence. Poor leaders don’t understand this, so they spend their time flexing muscles, raising their voices, and imposing their will. Good leaders do understand this truth, so they focus their attention on improving their ability to influence.
Below are 10 practices you should consider to help improve your ability to influence the people you lead:
1. Treat people like human beings rather than human resources.
Too often, leaders threaten their followers, use them, or neglect them. Remember, the people you lead are just that: PEOPLE. Leaders who write people off and treat them poorly always reap the negative benefits of those actions later.
2. Err on the side of generosity.
Be generous with your time. Be generous with your resources. Be generous with forgiveness, praise, and encouragement. Yes, this will cost you, but the results are worth it.
3. Always let people know where they stand.
It is leadership cruelty to let under-performing team members think they’re doing well and to let excellent team members wonder if they’re succeeding. Give your followers clear direction and keep them abreast of how you view their progress.
4. Believe in your team.
People beat themselves up a lot; they don’t need you to add any bruises to their collection. Help their confidence by believing in the people on your team. Look for the untapped potential in all of your team members. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them you believe in them. When you reprimand someone, make sure you genuinely believe they can improve. If you don’t believe in your team, you have the wrong people on your team, you have people in the wrong positions, or you are too darn cynical. Figure out which it is and address the issue immediately!
5. Praise people publicly and correct them privately.
Never, never, never, never reprimand people publicly. You’ll lose equity with the person being corrected and the people hearing the reprimand. Always, always, always encourage people publicly. This gives a boost to the person being praised and gives hope to those hearing the encouraging words.