Leading a team is hard enough as it is, but leading a team and having the ability to do it with excitement and get buy-in is another topic. One skill that can help with this task is being able to persuade people. Oftentimes persuasion can have a negative connotation in the mind of people, but if done in the right manner can take your leadership skills to the next level.
One of my favorite resources on the topic of persuasion comes from Robert Cialdini and his approach with influencing others. His 6 principles of Influence/Persuasion include the following:
I have found in my experience we as people are usually pretty good at 1 of these tactics, but oftentimes good leaders will use 3-4 of these to influence their team. Applying more than one of these tactics takes intentional and consistent effort. We could spend a full day going through how to use each of these tactics, but in this article I want to focus on reciprocity. I find that good leaders have this as one of their 3-4 tactics they use in leading a successful team.
Reciprocity begins with people at its core. In my experience I have found that we want to feel like our leaders give as much as we give to them and the organization. Taking orders from someone that isn’t willing to give something in return can be a tough task especially when extrinsic factors aren’t outweighing the task at hand. We as leaders must take the time and consideration to think about how we are giving back to the relationship. When was the last time that person we are leading felt like they had something meaningful reciprocated to them? These things can come in many shapes and forms, but the point is finding what works for them. This could mean sitting down and having a conversation with them about their day and the things that are stressing them out. It could also mean taking time to go to lunch and shoot the breeze. Finding ways to give to the relationship is something that needs to be highly personalized to that person to make a great impact in the relationship.
Persuasion is a critical key in becoming an influential leader in your organization. There are many ways to become that persuasive leader, but finding the right mix for you will be a trial and error experience. What works for someone else might not work for you and what works for you might not work for them. If we can’t lead with influence and persuasion then hitting the goals we have set for our organizations will become a larger task than you probably bargained for. I challenge you in the next interaction you have with your team to exercise a few of these principles and see how they start to change the way your team interacts with you and each other.