In this day and age it’s almost impossible to go an entire day without hearing the term ‘influencer’. It’s taken on a whole new meaning in recent years and thoughts of Instagram lifestyle gurus spring to mind whenever we use the term.
But becoming an influencer in your leadership role is hugely beneficial to your team, your organisation, and your own career.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to jump on social media and start posting lifestyle tips, or present yourself in a disingenuous way – I’m saying that becoming influential in the workplace will have a positive impact on your ability to lead and the effectiveness of your team.
You may already hold sway over your team, your colleagues, even management, but are you mistaking your powers of persuasion for influence?
Being persuasive has its advantages. Some even consider it an artform. And sure, you’re more likely to ‘win’ an argument, your ideas are likely to be accepted, and odds are you’re often going to get your own way. However, persuasion has its pitfalls.
What are the pitfalls of persuasion?
Persuading is akin to ‘convincing’ someone to do something. The very fact you need to ‘persuade’ implies there’s already a resistance at play. It requires effort on your part, potentially some manipulation, as well as promise of reward or benefit etc that often doesn’t meet expectations.
And people do pick up on it. Most of us know when we’re being persuaded or convinced of something especially if it goes against our own inner voice. And this can lead to mistrust of the Persuader.
Over time, the perception may arise that you always get your own way regardless of what others might think – and this makes people feel their opinions aren’t valued. Resentment can build amongst the team, and you may meet apathy, resistance, and/or begrudged compliance.
How is being an influencer different?
If the persuasion comes from a place of truth and integrity, it falls under influence.
The art of influencing begins with integrity – and you can think of it as ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’. It requires transparency, and leading by example.
We all know some people are more influential than others, inside and outside of the workplace. Effective influencers set an example and in a leadership role, that example will be followed by the team. This is true of attitude, behaviour, work ethic, and a host of other areas.
You have to practice what you preach.
And a truly influential leader will inspire others to take action towards the desired outcome. It’s the difference between being a leader and a manager – your team will be inspired to comply, commit, and work towards the common goal. An influencer will encourage and motivate their team in a genuine way that benefits everyone.
Additionally, this will have a knock-on effect and your team will likely influence each other in positive ways. Morale will be higher and challenges will be met with less resistance, if any.
Becoming more influential will set you apart from the crowd, after all, an influencer gets noticed. And if you’re following through and leading with integrity, you’ll become a highly trusted as well as effective leader. You’ll develop stronger relationships with co-workers and management, which will set the foundations for career progression. And not to be overlooked, you’ll be happier and more fulfilled in your role.
Our areas of specialism include:
- Leadership development
- Resilience and well-being training
- Management skills
- Influencing and negotiating skills
- Mid-value and major gift fundraising skills
- Fundraising training for Trustees