I’ll never forget the first day I started at the company where I met my wife. I was heading into the training room and there stood a man at the door, with a handshake and a smile, greeting everyone as we walked in. He was the training manager.

His demeanor was pleasant, his tone was uplifting, and, in all honesty, I felt as if I was a child heading to see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. There was something about his energy. He held a brief conversation with each of us, asking us questions about what we wanted, why we were here, and then informing us why the company chose us.

All of a sudden, I had a huge smile on my face. Instantly, I felt welcomed and I knew that he had that special something. 13 years later, I’ll always remember his name and I’ll always remember how much of an impact he made on me.

1. Know your people

Understanding who we work with is paramount to anyone’s leadership success. What makes them tick? What makes them get up in the morning? How is their family? What is important to them? These are questions that can be beneficial to any manager in knowing who we lead. Notice we started with asking questions. So many people think they know someone just because there is dialogue. Unfortunately, most of that dialogue is a one-way street. Stop giving information about yourself and start getting information from others.

2. Take interest in their needs

Once you find out what their needs are, take an interest in the needs. Showing interest means setting aside time to have a personal conversation with them. Bring them to your desk and see how they are doing. Find out what’s happening in their lives. How does it affect their production at work? Let them know that when they visit your desk, it’s not a negative thing.

3. Listen to their wants and desires

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use your ears, not just to listen, but to actively listen. If someone you lead tells you their goals and desires in the company, don’t forget it. Showing them that you know, and remember, what they want will go a long way in being able to lead them. Speak into that desire. They will be grateful you did.

4. Be their preeminent point of contact

Surpass their wildest expectations. When someone you lead can come to you and know that you will go to bat for them, it is priceless. Be reliable. Be the person you would want leading you. All too often, we see management drop the ball and totally forget concerns or ideas that were brought to them by the people they lead. Show empathy and try to see the world through their eyes. It will create defining moments in your leadership.

5. Create influence through emotional connection

You can only create influence when you have a connection. Having a connection only comes when you have a reciprocal relationship. You know that you have a reciprocal relationship when you can ask a person you lead to do something for you, and there is no challenge. Even the dirty stuff. But it’s only because you have done something for them. This is called “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”.

6. Treat them as individuals

We all want to be treated as individuals. So many times, in the workplace, people are grouped together and are spoken to as if they were all only one person. Your team is made up of individuals and they all have different goals and desires. Everyone wants to be rewarded. Don’t just reward the team, as a whole. Reward individuals privately and publicly, give individuals different responsibilities that go above and beyond their job description. Encourage your team to come up with new ideas and insights. Let them be problem solvers.

Final thoughts

Don’t have a scarcity mindset about leading people. Empower them and teach them what you know. A lot of managers feel that if they teach the people they lead what they know, they could be out of a job. Turn it around. Have an abundance mentality. More than likely, if you taught everyone you lead what you know, your production will soar and you will have upper management wanting to give you a promotion.

Creating an environment of influence is not based on titles. It is based on relationship. The training manager showed, within 30 minutes, that he had a different agenda. His agenda was to make us feel like we belonged, like the company needed us, and that we had something unique that added value.

It is not enough to be a manager. That is a role. Roles don’t create leaders… Relationship does.

Featured photo credit: business corporate businessman/pascalmwiemers via pixabay.com

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