Be an Influencer... (no, not that kind)

A sizable piece of running an effective and cohesive team relies on a leader’s ability to influence the behavior of the whole team.  We’re going to outline some of the key steps you can take toward being this kind of influencer.

1 - Setting clear expectations

2 - Encouraging an atmosphere of respect in your office

3 - Emphasizing the process over the result

4 - Being the example


Communicate clear expectations and give context for those expectations

If your team members know precisely what you expect, and why it matters, they’re better able to hold themselves accountable for meeting those expectations. If each person is aware of those 2 things – the desired outcome and why it’s important - they can discern for themselves the “how.” This both aligns your employees with your business goals and gets them engaged in achieving them.  

A simple activity to do is to get your team together and have them all share with you what they think makes for a great team member. Ask them what characteristics the people they enjoy working with most possess. You can also be sharing your own characteristics in this brainstorm. Then, you can either use all of those answers to point at what everyone should be striving for or you and your team can look for themes within those answers and decide on the most important for your organization.

Two great things about this exercise are your team helps decide the standards that are set and you don’t have to create the whole thing alone and then hope you can convince them. They convince themselves and each other as the exercise progresses, which means they are more bought-in.


Encourage an Atmosphere of Respect

One definition of respect is: “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.” Fitting within that theme, it’s actually pretty easy to foster an environment of respect. When you do, you’ll find your team members will communicate better with each other and you, and they’ll experience a higher level of fulfilment working in your organization.

Some simple things we do that get results are:

  • Asking our team members for their opinions on things. Everyone loves being valued well enough to be asked for their thoughts on a subject.
  • Having an open-door policy. Our team members know they can come to us with any feedback they have about the work, the company, co-workers, innovations, etc.
  • Being as flexible as you can be within reason. We are all humans with lives outside of work. Sometimes things come up or we are needed elsewhere. When those things arise, we don’t shame our team members or give them restrictions that would be hard for any person to adhere to. Instead, we try to be understanding and help them find solutions that will work for both their personal situation and our organization.
  • Appreciate what they do. Even if it’s just a “thank you,” showing appreciation is a powerful tool. Too many people feel underappreciated. If someone chooses to work for you, and help you further your organization’s goals, being grateful just makes sense. They’re helping you achieve your goals.
  • Help them achieve their own goals. It’s good to know what they are working toward for themselves…health, financial, growth, relationships…whatever objectives they have. Then if there is any way you can help, do it. If there isn’t, then do a simple check in—inquire how it’s going toward that goal. It shows you listen and care about them as a person; not just a cog in your machine.



Focus on the process and the results will follow

Business leaders can take this page out of the coach’s theoretical handbook. A process-oriented approach with your team develops their talents faster than an emphasis on the results. Fostering a growth mindset teaches your employees to value learning, to become more flexible and creative in their thinking, lowering performance anxiety, deepening their knowledge, and building their confidence and competence, which positively impacts your employees’ accuracy and productivity, and your bottom line.

With that in mind, when you recognize, reward, and/or appreciation people, you’ll find they (and those witnessing the affirmations) are more likely to repeat that desired behavior when you reward the behavior rather than the result. When we recognize sale people for a job well done, we applaud the number of calls they made, the improvements in their presentations, their persistence with difficult prospects, and other behavior-centered ideas. We could recognize sales, closing ratio, or referral average, but that doesn’t do as good of a job creating the “focus on actions” mentality we want. We prefer that to a focus on results. We do also recognize great results, but not without recognizing the efforts that made the difference.


Setting a good example

It makes people want to follow you. How do you do that as a manager or business owner?  Here’s an excellent list of 7 ways to lead by example from (which we’ve expanded on). 

  • Get your hands dirty. Know the ins and outs of how your business runs, and don’t treat any job as beneath you.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it. Your words have a direct impact on the morale of your team.
  • Respect the chain of command. If the boss shows respect for the chain of command, it will foster respect for leadership at every level.
  • Listen and get feedback from your team regularly.
  • Take responsibility. Great leaders know when mistakes have been made and take steps to correct them. If you want your team to do the same, teach that making mistakes – and then setting them right - are part of the growth process.
  • Let your team do their thing. Communicate your expectations, but then resist the urge to micromanage. This allows room for autonomy and innovation.
  • Take care of yourself. The more your take care of yourself, the more energy you’ll have and the better work you will do. Lead from the front to build a wellness-oriented culture where your team values the same.


These four steps do an excellent job of helping you create a team you love and a work environment that is enjoyable to work in.

We hope you found useful tips here. If you know anyone who can benefit from this post, please send it to them. We appreciate you.


written and edited by Amiee Mueller and Gloria Otto
Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

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