Being an influential leader is all about gaining the respect, confidence and trust of your team.
It’s about engaging with others and rallying them to your vision. It’s hard to define what exactly gives a person the ability to influence others. However, there do seem to be specific traits unique to influential leaders.
1. They are vulnerable
Although this is changing, there are still leaders today who are afraid to let their guard down and be vulnerable. They believe vulnerability is a sign of weakness. In actuality, being vulnerable and showing oneself to others is a sign of courage and self-confidence. This doesn’t mean letting emotions out whenever you feel like it. But it does mean knowing when the time and place is right to show your real and authentic self.
2. They are approachable
An approachable leader makes people feel comfortable and at ease. People at ease connect and communicate better. Being approachable doesn’t mean that you have to stop what you’re doing whenever someone needs your attention. But it does mean that when you give your attention, you give it fully. In this way, employees feel valued. When you make yourself approachable, you encourage your employees to give their best.
3. They are active leaders
An influential leader takes an active role in the vision of the company, along with the growth and success of its employees. Active leaders don’t sit around their office waiting for status reports or employees to come to them with issues. Instead, they get out among their staff and talk openly with them about their work and needs. This helps to support an environment that encourages employees to do their best.
4. They are present in the moment
Most of our time is spent in the past or the future, instead of the present moment. Subsequently, we end up passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else. Staying present means giving 100% attention to a person or task, without distraction. This means no multitasking! Contrary to popular believe, we just can’t adequately attend to more than one thing at once.
5. They are Servant Leaders
Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy where the primary aim of the leader is to serve. This is the opposite of traditional leadership, where the main drive of the leader is the growth of the organisation. A Servant Leader shares power, puts the needs of their staff first and supports their people to develop and perform at their best. Instead of individuals working to serve the leader, the leader serves their employees.
6. They are storytellers
It is up to leaders to inform their staff of what is going on and motivate them. They do this by telling them a good story. An authentic, believable and realistic one. One filled with the potential of a brighter day and a plan of how they will reach the end. A good story influences employees to do their best. Therefore, leaders need to know the basics of effective storytelling.