Have you ever wondered why some people always seem to have good things happen to them, and everything seems to go their way? Likewise, have you ever wondered why others seem to get the “raw end of the deal?” Is it coincidence, chance, or just plain “dumb luck?”
Whenever something needs to be returned to a retail store where we lost the receipt or it is past the return date, for example, I am always elected for the task. Why?
Whenever I eat at my Mom’s assisted living home, the servers enjoy giving me an extra dinner roll or the largest plate of food, and sometimes they will even sneak me two desserts (not that I need it). Why?
Who would not want their training departments running with this type of Karma (if that’s what you want to call it)?
I call this Karma influence or referent power. While we do know that position power comes from one’s title, reward power comes from one’s ability to grant material rewards, and legitimate power comes from one’s actual position in a company, referent power is not as clearly understood. Referent power is all about the personal attributes that tend to create followership. A person with referent power is nice, dynamic/charismatic, ethical, professional, and just plain attractive—attractive not just from an external, superficial point-of-view, but attractive from the inside.
Harry Truman defined influence as “the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” Armed with a clear understanding of both power and influence, how can you run or lead your training department like Harry Truman suggests?
Let’s use the word “influence” to provide some valuable tips on leadership.
I – “I, I, I, I, I.” We live in a world where it is all about “me” – my interests, my desires, whatever it takes so “I” can be satisfied and rewarded. Well, I am here to tell you to shed the “I” and focus on the “WE.” A good leader is a selfless leader.
N – Never do for your staff what they can do for themselves. Have confidence in your team, and let them spread their wings. Working on special projects will allow them to grow, develop, learn to take risks, and even develop their own leadership skills. Being a micro-manager is not suitable for a strong leader.
F – Have fun, learn to laugh, and smile more. It helps everyone to cope with stress better. Nobody wants to follow a negative person.
L – Learn as much as you can about your staff, especially the basics: birthday, job anniversary, marital status, children, and even pets. How about finding out what their outside hobbies or interests are so you have a “common ground” on which to communicate? Who knows, this “common ground” could come in handy when more difficult, business-related discussions need to be conducted.
U – Understand your business. A training leader is a true professional who knows and understands the organization and who can be relied upon to make sound decisions that are in alignment with the other objectives of the organization. Working as a business partner will gain you much respect from other departments, which in turn will make your training department run more successfully as well.
E – Empathic listening is a skill that, once mastered, will give you incredible referent power.
N – Nothing comes quick and easy. What I mean is, being a good leader requires patience and understanding.
C – Communicate, communicate, communicate! I think all of us understand the importance here. Just remember, one cannot NOT communicate. Be in tune with your body language and facial expressions.
E – Enjoy your life. I saved this item for last because without a positive outlook on life, then all the other items will be a struggle for you.
And finally, a strong leader has very good EI – Emotional Intelligence – so come join us for a wonderful Langevin workshop experience called How to Influence People and Events to learn more about the various types of power and how you can use them to your advantage.
How have you used your influence or referent power to become a better leader?