Business owners usually have the distinct advantage of being the boss. Because of this authority, business owners may mistakenly believe that motivating and directing employees will be easy: tell them to do it, and if they don’t, they find a new job.
The truth is that authority and fear may get the job done in the short term, but in the long run, the only way to succeed is by using effective influence tactics.
Why Influence Is Important in Leadership
Why isn’t authority alone an effective motivator to influence someone to do something? People are not robots with few personal motivations, goals, or desires. You may desire to get something done, but how do you transfer that desire to someone else so that you each share the same goal?
In one of the most widely read books on influence, How to Win Friends and Influence People, author Dale Carnegie says, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” Using effective influence tactics, you can learn to give your employees what they want to be motivated to help you meet your goals.
How to Improve Your Ability to Influence Others
Developing effective influence tactics starts with switching from focusing on you and your goals to concentrate on the purposes and desires of those you would like to influence. It’s about them, not you. Everyone wants to perform, so what are the goals of those you wish to influence? How can helping you reach your goals help them achieve their goals?
Tips to Influence Others
The mindset adjustment from focusing on your goals to those of others will take you far and likely give you many ideas based on your specific situation. Here are three effective influence tactics from How to Win Friends and Influence People that you can add to your toolbelt to influence others as a leader:
- Get personal. Depending on the size of your team, it can be challenging to get to know each team member. However, the chances are that those you need to influence most are few enough for you to take the time to get to know them. Use their name when you speak to them. Dale Carnegie says, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Learn about their family, their background, and what motivates them to come to work each day.
- Encouragement over criticism. While criticism is a natural reaction to work that is below par, it does not help your ability to influence. Instead, try to encourage the parts you see that met expectations rather than criticizing the aspects that don’t.
- Let them do it their way. Often, we as business owners believe we know the best way to approach a task. That may be true, but your team member will be more energized to get the job done if they can approach it their way. An extra helping of latitude will help them feel as if they contributed even more to the goal than if they had followed your exact orders.
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