Leadership with Influence

These days, leading people shouldn’t be about telling people what to do. It should be about pulling them together. Leading a successful team means you’ve created a group of people who work proactively together towards goals that would be impossible to achieve alone.

That sounds good, doesn’t it? But how do we create this successful team dynamic?

The first step is to come away from a command-and-control mindset. Whilst a directive, authoritative leadership style might achieve results in the short term, it will create resistance, frustration and negativity over time. People want to be inspired, not coerced.


The thing that works best is influence.

True leadership involves knowing what motivates individuals. Understanding the hurdles they face. Having an insight into the contributions they want to make. And it starts with listening.


What is the difference between influencing and telling?

When you’re influencing, you are supporting your team. You are listening to and addressing their concerns. You are working with them so that they can see and embrace a shared vision. On the other hand, when we talk about command leadership it’s more like a dictatorship. Command-style leaders use authority and fear to get people to act. People are told what to do. There’s little room for variance or free thinking. If they don’t do as they are told, they fear the repercussions.

To genuinely influence your team, you must become partners, generously sharing ideas, knowledge and growth. Encourage everyone to do the same. Remember that it is not about your individual success, it’s about the success of the whole team. Ego will make you enemies; empathy will produce allies.


Adaptability is important as well.

Leading everyone in exactly the same way doesn’t work. Your support should be tailored to support and encourage each person’s strengths. Highlight and address their areas for growth with sensitivity. You’ll find this will be repaid with respect in the long run.

Finally, create a shared purpose by getting more curious. What energises each member of your team? Do you know their core values? What do they need from you to feel fully engaged and motivated? Listen to them intently and work together collaboratively to create shared goals no single person could tackle alone.


Yes, leading this way does take work.

You need to understand different personalities, build trust, resolve conflict, and maintain your composure when there are challenges. But look at it this way…

You’re allowing artists to colour outside the lines, encouraging engineers to embrace their geeky, innovative sides and giving creatives permission to pursue projects that are close to their hearts. This will not only boost their self-confidence and give them a sense of personal achievement, but it will ultimately enhance their performance too.

Isn’t that the type of leadership that’s worth working towards?


Want to know more?

Sarah Harvey is Founding Director of Savvy Conversations Ltd and author of the highly acclaimed book “Savvy Conversations: A practical framework for effective workplace relationships.”

Website: https://savvyconversations.co.uk

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savvysarah

X (Formerly Twitter): @SarahSavvySarah

Instagram: savvysarah


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