Become an Influencer

Follow the Leader PhotoHave you ever met someone in your company that everyone seems to go to for advice?  That person seems to have much more power than their title because they are seen as a trusted advisor, confidant, and guru.  You go to this person because they are going to give you sound and well thought out direction and help you through any crisis. 

Becoming this key influencer in your company/industry is a big way to becoming a true leader.  You want people to seek out your guidance and to have confidence in how you perceive situations as the true way. 

The question becomes “how do you achieve this status?”.  Working on the following can help.

1.       Become a Great Listener.  Many business people will tell you that the key to success is listening.  By hearing what is being said instead of thinking about what you are going to say next enables you to perceive the issue and formulate your plan.

2.       Ask Questions.  To keep the person talking about the situation and to more fully understand it, ask a lot of questions that bring you to the root cause of the issue.  Keep asking Why until the answer cannot be expounded upon.

3.       Be a Collaborator.  No one likes a Know-It-All.  Work with the person to make sure you solve the problem together.  Ask them how they would solve the problem then play out their solution scenario.

4.       Have Real Concern.  You have to care to share.  Take the time to invest in the person sitting across from you.  People know when you are only working with them because you have to.

5.       Be Neutral.  Do not take sides in a discussion.  You can empathize with the person, but resist the urge to comment positively or negatively about another person.  Keep your emotions in check and play the middle.  Your words will carry weight and you don’t want them to be misconstrued or repeated to justify someone’s dislike towards another.

6.       Be Honest.  The person may not like your feedback, but by being honest in all conversations, they will respect you.  Live by two phrases- “I have a horrible memory so I need to tell you the truth as I see it,” and “Remember, you asked me for my opinion.”

7.       Draw the Line.  If you are a person’s supervisor, keep that level of professionalism.  Let them know that you are their boss and trashing another colleague’s credibility will not be tolerated.

8.       Stay Quiet.  No gossip should come from you.  It is the other person’s news to tell.  Breaking the news will be a surefire way that people will lose their trust in you.

9.       Have Confidence.  Understand that people are coming to you for a reason.  Believe that you have the skills, knowledge and experience that you will give good advice.  Also believe that even if the outcome is wrong, you gave the best advice with the information given.

10.   Keep It Real.  Stay grounded.  No one wants to hear from a preachy person.  Now is not the time to use your word of the day app.  Answer questions in real terms.  Avoid circular answers.  Be direct, clear and concise.

You need to be an effective communicator to become an effective leader.  You also need to become a “go to” to get that recognition from your peers.  These skills will help, but only if you apply them properly.

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