Transformational leadership

How To Be An Influential And Not Authoritative Leader

If you are in charge of leading your team or company, you will know by now that authority alone will not fetch you the desired results. Worse still is when you are trying to lead your team, and you get the feeling of not being taken seriously. When no one in your organization listens to you, it is impossible to reach your shared goals.
Today good leadership equates to great influencing powers to motivate your employees intrinsically. It is through the process of influence that you can lead and bring change.
While it is true that you can influence your team with authority owing to your title as CEO, director, president, vice-president, project manager, etc., it alone is not sufficient.
You can take a cue from Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, the author of the breakthrough book, “Influence: Psychology of Persuasion,” who has distilled the science of persuasion into six principles and applied them to your leadership practice at the workplace to influence without authority.
1. Reciprocation:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This biblical quote sums up best the principle of reciprocity. Irrespective of your title or rank of authority, you need to show respect to others if you want to be respected. You can show respect in various ways such as appreciatory words for great work and your actions, such as assigning them exciting work to develop their skills and giving them a sense of autonomy. Be genuine about it, and you will soon discover how giving just a little can help you get a lot in return from your team.
2. Commitment and Consistency:
You can get your employees to stick to their deadlines and complete their tasks by making them keep promises voluntarily and explicitly in the form of a job description, project plan, task sheet, and other such verbal/written form of commitment and consistency. You can further amplify this influence principle by publishing or sharing the agreed commitment where and whenever appropriate.
3. Social Proof:
You can use the herd mentality to your leadership advantage. Most people tend to perform a recommended task if others are also doing the same. You can start by enlisting your best and most efficient employees to set the positive work culture. By doing so, others will soon follow the right work example. When you try to get a team member to conform to the productivity norms, you can remind them that everyone is already following what you suggest or invite the team member individually and make them feel inclusive and part of your team.
4. Liking:
It is true that when people like you, they are naturally inclined to follow you. You can boost your likeability factor by getting to know your employees, listening to them, cooperating with them, and paying them compliments. Try and discover similarities as your employees will be more willing to work with those like them, who like them, and vice versa.
5. Scarcity:
Another effective way of influencing your team is to get them excited and work towards a bonus, rewards, and recognition given to a limited number of employees or valid for a certain period only. The scarcity principle can also be used to get employees motivated about a job that you tell them is unique and exciting and how they will stand to lose if they don’t take it up. When you position something as rare or scarce, your employees will find it more attractive or lucrative to work.
6. Authority:
As mentioned earlier in the article, you can undoubtedly influence your employees with the authority that you hold within the organization. However, if you are not the boss, you can still command authority by dressing like one. More employees will respond to your request when you bear the appearance of power. So, pay attention to the way you dress (clean, ironed, and appropriate workwear), be knowledgeable about your job, company, and industry. You will soon be gaining authority without commanding it.

The combination of expertise and trustworthiness is what you should aim for as a leader who influences without authority.
You may know many missed opportunities at work where a simple action or rephrasing of words could have avoided conflict, resentment, and improved the situation.
The good news is that you can move forward and turn your hostile work environment to a positive one with Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion, which applies to any organization.
Dr. Cialdini advocates the non-manipulative use of these powerful principles of influence in a way that is beneficial to both the leader and his/her followers. The partnership should be ethical, effective, and long-lasting.
You can easily practice Cialdini’s six principles to become a better leader who organically earns not just respect but also the liking of others in the organization.
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