As a manager, you need to sell. That is, selling a picture to all who will listen of what the future could be. You are, effectively, persuaders of a vision.
Of course, there’s a great distrust today of leaders because of their motives, broken promises and misguided decisions. So how do you persuade others without manipulating? How do you become a persuasive leader? Here are some ideas:
Leverage power to serve and empower others
Earn support by developing your people. Proactively serve as mentors, networkers, coaches. Always be on the lookout as to how you can empower people to grow towards their potential. As yourself, ‘what’s in it for them?’ What do they gain during the process of following your vision? How will they benefit from following your guidance and advice?
Over Deliver on Promises
The old maxim of over-deliver after under-promising makes sense if we are trying to be persuasive. By encouraging people to identify the steps needed to accomplish a goal or an outcome, then working hard to ensure those outcomes are reached and, in some cases, bettered, against the criteria you were being judged by, you achieve a trust level that will assist others in relying on you for results and paying attention to your needs and wants.
Trust others to Perform at a High Level
Set expectations first, and trust people to achieve them. When people feel trusted, they often reciprocate with putting more effort into a task. They don’t want to let the trustee down. When you trust, you build close bonds with that person, and they feel that empowerment to achieve the goal that might have been beyond their reach previously.
So, by giving power to others, going beyond expectations on your promises and trusting others to perform well, you build up ‘stock’ with a person. This can be used to ethically and honestly request a person to help you achieve further goals through principled and worthy ways.
If it’s seen as manipulative, it will rarely succeed. Or if it does, it will leave the person feeling used. Persuasion carried out in the right way, with the right people, at the right time, aimed at getting the right results, will more often than not provide the basis for highly-confident communications.
Head of Training
Originally published: 18 June, 2012