Lead by example: 3 ways to be a more influential manager
As a leader, do you practice what you preach? Do you demonstrate the same values and behaviours you are asking of your employees? The most influential leaders are those we trust to lead. When you lead by example, you greatly increase your ability to influence others to follow that lead.
Here are three simple ways to unlock your power to influence and positively impact employee performance, positioning yourself as the kind of leader your employees want to follow when pursuing success:
1. Mean what you say
Take some time out to assess whether you consistently live the values you ask others to demonstrate. Do you openly encourage engagement and teamwork, but keep your office door shut for most of the day? Do you insist on the importance of collaboration, but regularly cancel meetings at the last minute, or leave 10 minutes in?
Leaders will always have their time and attention pulled in multiple directions, and your staff are watching to see where that time and attention goes. Make sure you say what you mean, and show through your actions that you always mean what you say, before you ask your employees to do the same.
2. Be accessible
The most successful leaders remain accessible, understanding that the more they know and understand about people, the more they can influence their behaviours and decisions.
Bill Gates used to publish his email address. He wanted to hear from people, making it as easy as a click of the send button to connect with one of the most successful CEOs on the planet. This accessibility, no doubt, provided valuable business insights into the needs of both his employees, and the general Microsoft-using population.
Increase your ability to influence outcomes by encouraging dialogue, and remaining open to the thoughts and opinions of others. Keep your office door open for as long as you can, and when that’s no longer possible, schedule official sessions with staff, where employees are able to connect with you in a structured setting, getting to know you better at the same time.
3. Communicate your message
Leaders regularly have to introduce change, asking employees to take risks and step outside their comfort zones in pursuit of company goals. To successfully influence others to get on board, you need to inspire them, and show, through your understanding of their current position, and firm belief in what you are now asking of them, that there is a better way ahead.
As a leader, cultivate your communication skills by paying attention to the great orators out there. Whether you take your inspiration from the latest Ted Talk or a famous political address, watch and listen to the way influencers understand the power of communicating the right message, to the right people.
Practise the art of public speaking, and don’t be afraid to communicate the meaning in your message. Your employees will hear you loud and clear if you tell them where you are going, and why it matters, and they will feel encouraged and empowered in their decision to follow your lead.