“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”. – Kenneth Blanchard
When public speaking, presenting or facilitating, the ability to influence others is important to any leader, manager or trainer. Being able to influence staff and clients to make change or act in a different way is really what leadership is all about. The essence of leadership is influence. Leaders without influence will struggle as the old command and control, or authority mode, is less effective than influence. Leaders and managers need to motivate and influence staff to work toward the organizational values and goals and to work cooperatively as a team. An engaged and responsive workplace is often the result of an influential leader.
Here are some of the costs to a leader and an organization, of not being influential in the workplace:
1. You may be seen as weak or ineffective.
Effective leaders are those who inspire people to act. Not being influential in the workplace may affect how your colleagues perceive you as a leader or manager which can also affect the fulfillment of their individual responsibility in the organization. At the extreme end, it can get to a stage where people will ignore your positional power.
2. Loss of trust.
Influential leaders are the most trusted because trust and influence go hand in hand. Leaders can influence their co-workers to develop trust within the organisation if they trust them, too. When employees don’t accept your influence, they tend not to trust you. This results in them keeping their ideas and thoughts to themselves instead of sharing them with you or the team and the organisation loses out on creativity and innovation.
3. Your messages are not taken seriously.
In certain cases, employees will only follow their leaders because it is their job and that is what they are expected to do. When a leader does not have influence in the workplace, their staff tend to ignore their messages or dismiss reminders as unimportant which can then lead to inefficiency and the need to duplicate messages and communication.
4. You are misunderstood.
When a leader lacks influence, often they are misunderstood. Their teammates may take reminders as commands, constant follow-ups as micromanagement and any silence (lack of influence) as passive aggressive behavior. This can lead to much bigger issues and bad relationships.
5. It can affect professional development and team development.
A leader is someone who helps build and maintain a successful organisation by developing and growing other leaders. They use their influence to encourage high performance within the team. If a leader is not capable of influencing employees to achieve more than they thought they can, to believe in themselves and become the best version of themselves, it can affect the growth of both the employees and the organisation.
There can be no leadership without influence. It is difficult to grow a team and lead a team without influence. Your ability to ask people to trust you, to follow you and to change depends on your influencing skills. How influential are you as a speaker, trainer or leader?