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Getting Others to Follow Your Lead

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Getting Others to Follow Your Lead

Simon Wallace | 22nd April 2019

Getting others to follow your lead is a leadership essential that requires you to master influence.

This post provides you with a practical 3 step approach that will greatly improve your influence skills and is exciting given that:

“Influence offers you a power to articulate change.”¹

Here are my 3 steps to improve your influence:

Step 1 –  Invest in the ‘cycle of trust’

Influence is directly proportional to trust.

Building trust requires attention to a cycle, I’ve called this the ‘cycle of trust’.

To understand this cycle identify someone that has really influenced you. Take a moment to think deeply about your journey with this person right from the very beginning.

For most this will go something like this, they:

    1. Found me
    2. Interacted with me
    3. Agreed with me and that we’d keep in touch
    4. Repeated steps 1-3 …

This iteration is the ‘cycle of trust’.

Some important points to note about this cycle:

They found you, meaning that they did not wait for you to find them.

They interacted with you, meaning that they engaged you in focused, positive and engaging communication on all levels – verbal, non-verbal and message. Preferably, face to face to start with, setting tone and rules for this and future meetings.

They reached an agreement with you, meaning that they encouraged you to commit to something that benefited you both.

You both agreed to keep in touch, meaning that you’d meet (interact) again.

The more you interact together the greater the trust. The greater the trust, the greater the ability for them to influence you and vice versa.

Importantly, they initiated and worked the ‘cycle of trust’.

The ‘cycle of trust’ needs conscious attention in the workplace

In a parent/child scenario the ‘cycle of trust’ is a natural occurrence. However, at work the parental instinct is not often present so the ‘cycle of trust’ requires conscious attention.

 ‘If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.’ – Zig Ziglar

Step 2 – Know your circles

The focus for your influence action comes from your circles.

We have 3 circles, being your Circle of:

    1. Control (those that report to us)
    2. Influence (those outside our circle of control but those that impact on your result)
    3. Beyond your influence (those that we cannot reach)

Take time to understand your circles as explained in the exercise below and identify those individuals that have the biggest impact on your result. Those that have the biggest impact on your result require your influence action first.

Click to ‘Understanding Your Circles’

“Know yourself; keep your circle tight. Keep your friends and your work circle tight.” – Rita Ora

Step 3 – Build your credibility

Trust is directly proportional to credibility.

Focus on building your credibility as you interact within the ‘cycle of trust’ as this will greatly improve your ability to influence others to act.

Your credibility with anyone or any group is a function of your relationship with that person or group and their perception of your expertise.

Take time to understand your credibility  as explained in the exercise below. Those that mark low on relationship and do not perceive you as an expert in your field require your credibility building ‘trust cycle’ action.

Click to ‘Understanding Your Credibility’

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey

Want to improve your influence skills?

Work these 3 steps:

  • Invest in the ‘cycle of trust’
  • Know your circles
  • Build your credibility

Leaders take the first step into this process, not followers.

Great leaders establish high trust. Their followers are loyal and are happy to defends them; fight for and celebrate with them not interested to follow anyone else.

What are you doing to prepare your circles for your influence attempt?

Where do you need to trigger the ‘cycle of trust’?

Photo by magnezis magnestic on Unsplash


Cambridge Dictionary – definition of influence

About the Author

Simon Wallace is founder of The Whole Thing Group and passionate about performance improvement. Creative entrepreneur and trusted advisor to some great companies that are achieving great things.

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