Develop your leadership: 5 ways to increase your influence on your team

Are you a team leader, manager or business owner? You probably know that your ability to inspire and influence your team has a direct impact on their performance, productivity and overall success. Such a skill is not acquired with a promotion to a management position – this is something that must (and can) be learned. True leadership is not about flaunting apparent power. By developing your influence, you can bring out the best in your team members and achieve extraordinary results that will exceed your wildest expectations. Here are 5 ways to help you develop your leadership skills and increase your impact on your team.


1 WAY: Set a good example

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your leadership is to set a good example. Your team members look up to you and watch your actions closely. As a leader, you must demonstrate the behaviors and values you expect from your team.


During management training, we often hear participants ask, "Will our supervisor also attend a similar workshop?" Your team expects that if you require them to act in a certain way or have certain skills, you will also require them of yourself. Don't expect your subordinates to motivate others, give feedback or manage their time skillfully if you yourself have never given them constructive feedback, and you find it difficult to delegate your own tasks.


Demonstrate integrity, actively engage in the tasks and projects at hand, and be willing to go the extra mile when necessary. By consistently embodying the qualities you want to see in your team, you build credibility, earn respect and inspire them to perform at their best.


2 WAY: Foster effective communication

That's right. Favor. Team leaders are often the source of poor communication, or even a complete lack of it. So don't make it difficult. Clear and open communication is the foundation of effective leadership. Where to start?


Encourage open dialogue within the team where ideas, concerns and opinions can be shared freely. Create a safe space to talk, don't criticize. Find time for 1:1 with each of your subordinates. Practice active listening to make sure team members feel noticed and their opinions are taken into account. Ask how employees understand goals, expectations and responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings.


Give constructive feedback regularly to help team members grow and improve their performance. Learn to accept feedback, including feedback with which you disagree. By fostering a culture of open communication and creating a supportive environment, you have a chance to see unique ideas or hear about important problems before it's too late to solve them.


3 WAY: Develop emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill that allows you to understand and manage your own and your team members' emotions. By nurturing emotional intelligence, you can empathize with the position of others, build strong relationships and deal effectively with difficult situations. 


When is it worth working on building emotional intelligence? Certainly when you don't control your own emotions. If your team doesn't speak up in meetings, doesn't raise issues and doesn't express dissent, they may be doing so out of fear of your reaction. However, it doesn't have to be only such extreme situations. Emotional intelligence is also worth developing when you focus too much on maintaining a pleasant atmosphere in the team and make excessive sacrifices for others, such as bailing out your employees.


Pay attention to the emotional needs of your team and respond accordingly. Be stable and predictable. Show empathy, offer support and acknowledge accomplishments, but at the same time be mindful of your boundaries. Developing emotional intelligence increases your ability to connect with your team on a deeper level, leading to increased trust, loyalty and - ultimately - influence.


4 WAY: Encourage collaboration and teamwork

Successful leaders recognize the power of teamwork. Encourage the use of each other's strengths and knowledge. Also create opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and encourage drawing on diverse perspectives across the organization.


Among the companies we have the opportunity to assist, the problem of silos is often repeated. Even if the work and knowledge exchange within one's own team runs smoothly, the same can often not be said of the operation of the entire company. Interdepartmental cooperation is not effective when everyone plays to their own ends and pursues their own objectives. In extreme cases, teams not only fail to cooperate, but actually block and obstruct each other's work, which has a disastrous effect on the atmosphere between employees.


Breaking silos requires proper diagnosis and involvement of not only you as a leader, but usually additional people as well. It's not an easy process, but it's definitely worth the attempt to build the foundation of an inclusive environment where every employee feels valued and encouraged to contribute their unique insights. By doing so, you will create a sense of unity and working toward a common goal, which leads to increased creativity, innovation and overall efficiency not only for your team, but for the entire organization.


5 WAY: Focus on growth - your own and of your team

Continuous learning and personal development are essential for effective leadership. Invest in your own personal and professional development and encourage your team to do the same. Attend workshops, seminars or conferences on leadership (here we especially recommend Active Strategy events :)), to gain new insights and perspectives. 


Take the same care of your team members. By doing so, you'll reduce the likelihood of seeing a termination notice on their desks arguing for lack of development opportunities. Ask directly about needs and ambitions, and then send your employees for training. Don't guess, don't create your solutions - ask. An honest conversation is always the best source of information. Nothing demotivates development more than having to "do away" with a training course that your supervisor sent the participant to without first asking if it will be useful to him. Your employee will only lose time, and you - money.


Remember that development is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process. By prioritizing growth and development, you inspire others to do the same and create a culture of continuous self-improvement in your organization.


Developing your leadership skills is an ongoing journey that requires dedication, self-reflection and a commitment to growth. By implementing the ideas described in this article, you can improve your leadership effectiveness and increase your impact on your team. Finally, here's an insanely important protip: don't just use one of the approaches listed here. Combine them all together and observe the results. What will you notice? A positive and empowering work environment that drives success and nurtures the potential of both you as a leader and your entire team.

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