The pandemic hits. Many companies need to up its game, and leaders find themselves at a crossroads. One’s leadership influence is put on the spotlight.
As lockdowns and quarantines were implemented, many business transactions and operations were put on hold. As a leader, you face many dilemmas.
For a leader, it’s like herding your flock onto an empty field, filled with scary prospects but also incredible opportunities.
For obvious reasons, hospitals were one type of organization that was severely hit during the pandemic. Many surgeries had to be postponed since surgeons and patients were no longer able to meet for pre-op consultations.
One effective approach was to begin conducting these sessions digitally. However, for both doctors and patients, switching to digital consultations was a significant step.
Indeed, it was not easy to transition from a typical consultation to one done via video or audio. In this regard lies the question – how can leaders influence their people the right way? How can leadership influence exert itself when it comes to moments of significant change?
Leadership is the process through which one person persuades others to work together toward a common objective that they find desirable; therefore, effective leadership requires the ability to influence others.
How to Exert Leadership Influence
Leadership influence means you have the ability to manage your team in a way that positively affects their attitudes, beliefs, actions, decisions, and behaviors. In order to influence or persuade others positively, you must first empower and serve your employees.
However, you may face many challenges when it comes to influencing your team members.
The good news is there are several ways to address these challenges.
You must be prepared to listen to many concerns as the leader of a hospital pushing doctors to conduct consultations online.
Both doctors and patients will be concerned about how to use the technology and whether the quality of the consultation will be enough; nevertheless, as a leader, your primary priority will be to ensure that these changes occur as quickly as possible!
It’s common for leaders to have different priorities to the people they are listening to. And this creates a conflict of interests, which is one of the biggest barriers to active listening.
If you are having difficulties in listening actively, you can do the following:
Do not Jump to Conclusions
When we have a conflict of interests, it’s natural to want to force the other person to listen to our interests first! But this creates the exact opposite effect and causes them to shut down.
A good habit for both listening and resolving conflict is to start by asking them about their side of the story.
You can listen without forming assumptions or taking sides on a topic. Gain a better grasp of the problem from the perspectives of others.
Even an expert in the medical field needs some advice from their team. These people can provide you with issues that may arise with the digital adoption as well as suggest courses of action to combat them.
Do Direct Eye-Contact
Making direct eye contact shows your team that you are focused on what they have to say, making them feel that their opinion matters.
Do Not Interrupt
Please allow your team member to complete their thoughts without being interrupted. It is always preferable to wait too long rather than disrupt the speaker’s ideas if in doubt.
There are many other tips on how to actively listen that you can browse here: https://www.jodymichael.com/blog/improve-leadership-skills-through-active-listening/
Building Trust within the Team
Gaining trust is difficult for everyone but especially for leaders. Subordinates have a natural presumption that individuals in higher-power positions put little value on the opinions and worth of those under them.
But you can throw this presumption out the window by doing the following:
Speak the Truth
You can demonstrate trust and accountability by answering your team’s questions truthfully and completely. Be sure to communicate all essential aspects. Avoid hiding facts that could be valuable to others in making a decision.
You can demonstrate trust and accountability by answering your team’s questions truthfully and completely. When informing members of new projects, such as the change from face-to-face consultations to video calls, you have to ensure that you relay all essential aspects. Avoid hiding facts that could be valuable to others in making a decision.
One of the most significant signs of credibility to other team members is a documented track record of success. When appropriate, leaders can encourage team members to share their successes via email, meetings, or social media accounts.
At the start of a new shift at the hospital, you can gather your team in a short huddle and congratulate them on a previous job well done. Then, you can lead the way by posting on social media the successes the team has achieved with digitization.
Be More Personal
You can make a concerted effort to assist everyone in getting to know one another on a more personal level. You can find many opportunities to talk about family, hobbies, and shared interests so that camaraderie exists.
A great source you can check about building trust is https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/building-trust-team.htm.
Delivering Bad News
No one wants to hear bad news, and also, not everyone is receptive to change. So, it comes as no surprise that leaders find it very hard to share such information with their subordinates.
Having to go from in-person consultation to remote ones is not an easy thing to do. What if the information is not clearly given and understood when relayed through video? What if there are technical difficulties? These are some of the questions both doctors and patients ask themselves as they transition. That’s why it’s imperative that these aspects are considered when you deliver bad news.
The pandemic has brought leadership influence to the test. But influential leaders who can deliver the news of digital change in an effective way can pass the test with flying colors.
Here are some things you can do to soften the blow of bad news:
Please avoid sugarcoating the truth. But with the right kind of words from their leaders, they turned things around.
Consider Time and Setting
It’s not easy to tell team members about bad news, such as a change in work direction. If the leaders did not consider a comfortable environment and an appropriate time to tell the team of changes they had to follow, the transition would not have been successful.
It’s not easy to tell team members about bad news, such as a change in work direction. In the hospital setting, pre-assessments had to be done virtually. If the leaders did not consider a comfortable environment and an appropriate time to tell the team of changes they had to follow, the transition would not have been successful. Leadership influence flourishes at the right time and at the right place.
Establish Next Steps
If there are available ones, you can identify solutions, alternatives, or further actions. When you present these to your subordinates, they know that not all is lost.
As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
This is not what you want, but how about…?
It may not be the same, but you can consider…
You can end the conversation on a positive note by asking the person to look on the bright side.
Leaders need to put their best foot forward.
And you can too!
Here’s a blog you can check on how to do well on this aspect: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/bad-news.htm.
Becoming a leader did not start when you got promoted. It began when you started making an impact on your team members and the organization you belong to.
There are many barriers to making a significant impact on your people, such as lack of trust and inability to communicate bad news and changes that need to happen. But a leader knows no barriers.
You can use the tips on influencing your team in the right way so you can powerfully affect your team to achieve effective and notable results.
- To actively listen, remember not to jump to conclusions, maintain eye-contact, and allow you team to talk without interruptions.
- Always remember to be honest with your team. Also, make the effort to get to know your team and focus on successes. Trust will follow.
- Telling your team some bad news will not be easy. But if you tell them at the right and in the right setting and you use genuine and positive words, you can somehow turn things around.
Suffice to say, it’s not merely the concept of leadership influence. “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less” as John C. Maxwell stated.
Once you herd your flock in the right direction, then you can call yourself a leader.
Learn Influencing Skills
If you are interested in training to improve your team’s influencing skills, then check out my Contextual Influencing training.
Or download my FREE Top 20 Influencing Habits List: