4 steps to become a leader with influence
As the owner of a trade business you automatically get elevated to leadership status (congrats to you). Do you deserve this status? Is your own perception of yourself as a leader shared by your employees?
Unfortunately, we see trade businesses plateau, or worse, decline in success because of unsatisfied, unmotivated and unproductive employees. After digging a little deeper, it often becomes clear the employee behaviour is a direct result of their leader (the business owner!).
True leaders are not just leaders by job title. Rather, they’re leaders because they genuinely have influence amongst their team.
That said, what are the tell-tale signs that you’re a leader lacking influence. How can you fix this?
Tell-tale signs you lack influence
You lack influence over your employees if they;
- Back chat
- Only communicate with you, when necessary
- Question basic business decisions or requests of them
- Disregard your requests of them
- Do the bare minimum
- Talk poorly about the business
- Talk poorly about you
- Lie to you
- Don’t look you in the eye
- Don’t seem to be listening when you speak
- Stop jokes and laughter when you’re around
- Resign without explanation
Most importantly, you lack influence if your employees don’t respect you. Put simply, they view you as a means of filling their bank rather than a boss they look up to. How can you become an influencer?
You can become an influencer by doing more for your employees than just the day-to-day necessities that keep your business running.
Actively working towards gaining the respect of your employees by developing strong, genuine relationships will have a flow on effect. You’ll transform from a leader by job title into an influencer.
Begin this transformation with these 4 steps (do them all at once, not 1-by-1):
1. Develop mutual trust
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Without it, a relationship simply isn’t genuine and never will be.
Your employees will trust you when you deliver on promises to both them and your customers. Employees consciously and unconsciously comprehend your motives in all situations. They’ll then form opinions about what you value and trust will (or perhaps won’t depending on your behaviour) follow.
Influencers will also ensure that employees feel trusted by giving them responsibility and challenges.
Remember, trust is earned over time but broken within a second.
2. Encourage feedback
Influencers ALWAYS back their business decisions but simultaneously welcome feedback from their employees.
Encouraging feedback shows employees that you want to enhance their work environment. They’ll feel respected, see you as a role model and the benefits of this will be reciprocated in their actions.
The ability to acknowledge that no workplace is perfect as well as openness to fresh ideas will allow you to grow in understanding. Understanding will help you influence!
3. Get to know employees
Yes, your employee may be 30 years your junior and perhaps you’re not too sure what you’d have in common. However, as an employer (of which they spend up to 40 hours a week with) you’re a larger part of your employee’s life than you may realise.
An influencer will always learn what makes their employees ‘tick’ and what doesn’t. This understanding helps direct positive conversation and provide support on relevant negatives they may be experiencing.
Get to know your employee by learning about;
- Their thoughts/concerns regarding work
- How they’re going at TAFE
4. Develop mutual purpose
Purpose is a motivator for most people. If you can motivate someone, you can influence him or her positively.
By explaining your business vision, the impact of your service on customer’s lives and your employee’s role in making this happen, employees will feel that they count towards something of greater value than their day-to-day labour.
In addition to this, take the time to understand your employees overall aspirations and how their role will also help them reach their aspiration.
At the end of the day, your employees make things happen! If you want effective employees you’ll need to match this with effective leadership. When it comes to the employee-leader relationship, you’ll get what you put in.
- Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
- Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.
Visit Next Level Tradie for our schedule of live events.