Five Strategies for Increasing Leadership Influence

Five Strategies for Increasing Leadership Influence

Filter tag: Culture & Organisational Effectiveness, Customer & Brand, Leadership Capability, Strategies for Growth

While authority and formal titles may dictate a certain level of control or gravitas, true leadership is not about your ability to command others but rather your ability to inspire voluntary action. Influence is a delicate fusion of empathy, communication prowess, and vision. It requires an understanding of the unique motivations and aspirations of individuals and involves leveraging that understanding to guide teams toward shared objectives. A leader’s ability to influence reflects their ability to connect with people on a personal level, to build trust, and foster a sense of belonging and purpose.

Whether you’re championing a strategic initiative, leading restructuring efforts, advocating for new technology, strengthening  customer commitment or motivating your teams towards agility and higher performance, your ability to generate buy-in, inspire confidence, and shape outcomes hinges upon whether you are able to effectively gain support from your key stakeholders, many of whom will not necessarily be I the same room as you too regularly.

Our expert Rialto Executive Career Coaches have shared the following five essential strategies for senior executives to consider when seeking to enhance their leadership influence.

  1. Master the Art of Persuasion: To influence effectively, it’s vital to master the art of persuasion. This involves appealing to both reason and emotion. Look to substantiate your position with data and facts, but also attune yourself to your audience’s feelings. Demonstrate how your vision and objectives align with their values and aspirations. Look to also clarify how their support and/or contribution support the broader outlook. A common error which many leaders often make is not focussing on multiple stakeholder benefits, even though they know that not everyone shares the same level of commitment to a particular cause or direction. To be truly influential, you need to be realistic about the various drivers for your different audiences and persuade them from that vantage point.  Segment your audience to customise your approach and consider their different interests and priorities.  Emphasise positive impact and what success looks like but equally anticipate and openly address challenges and risks, inviting feedback and creating space for dialogue.  Remember, mastering the art of persuasion is an ongoing process requiring self-awareness, practice, and a genuine commitment to understanding and connecting with others.
  2. Build a Compelling Personal Brand: Your personal brand is a powerful tool for influence, both online and offline. A strong personal brand can make your message more compelling and trustworthy, especially where you have shared your expertise and values and proven yourself as a trusted contributor in your field or on key topics. Consistently align your actions and communication with these attributes is essential, both within and outside your organisation. Those that have established credibility among peers, team members, and stakeholders are much more likely to have their voice heard and be followed. Many senior leaders use LinkedIn as a preferred thought leadership platform to raise personal digital brand awareness, given its professional reputation compared to other social networking platforms. Build a strong profile on the site that accurately outlines your background, experience, and professional identity. Ensure that the information you include creates the desired perception you would like others to glean. Then, use the platform to build your influence through your posting and activity. Share relevant research, comment on trends affecting your industry or business, and actively engage in conversations about your topics of expertise. Leverage your brand to build your network and get in front of key members of your audience. Name recognition goes a long way in creating credibility and trustworthiness. Having a well-structured and active profile can help to position you well as a leader in your industry or job function, which in turn will support your ability to influence others.
  3. Leverage Technology Wisely: Using technology to build your influence is a must in today’s digital age but ensure that you are doing so wisely. Utilise it to your advantage but be mindful of its limitations. Video conferences, webinars, and social media can extend your reach, but they still don’t create the same impact as face-to-face interactions Be mindful of how and why you use technology in your communications efforts and ask yourself if this is the right platform or appropriate messaging for your audience and brand. With the rise of generative AI, employing a platform like ChatGPT to draft thought leadership and persuasive messages is being seen as a valuable time saver for busy executives. However, generating content this way without your own perspective does little to portray your unique voice, match your tone and can occasionally generate inaccurate or misrepresentative information. To be truly influential, you need to own your narrative and your messaging instead of handing over to AI. Generative AI is an incredible technology, but again has its limitations. Use it as an assistant to your efforts rather than letting technology take full control.
  4. Develop a Community and Open Communication: Both online and offline, you should be listening as often as you speak and empowering others to share their thoughts as well. Do not just share or ‘publish your own thoughts and expect that to be enough to position you as ‘influential.’ The most successful influencers are those who build communities of trust first. Spark valuable and thought-provoking conversations with others. Invite your audience to share their opinions and respond to them. Comment on what others have to say be that in your organisation, in your industry or on a wider platform. Influential leaders do not exist in isolation.

As a leader, take the initiative  to create a culture that encourages and supports open communication and collaboration. Encourage feedback, welcome diverse perspectives, and ensure that information flows freely. A transparent, open culture fosters trust, honesty and creates alignment. It also makes it easier to generate buy-in for initiatives or strengthen decision-making through collaborative input.

  1. Continuously Learn and Improve: Building your influence will not happen overnight, and effective communication is not a static skill. You should always strive to learn and improve your messaging and your method of delivery. Seek feedback, stay updated on trends, and adapt accordingly. A commitment to ongoing self awareness and growth will help you to become influential long term, which will prove valuable in times of both prosperity and turmoil.

When leaders lead by example, showcasing values and behaviours that align with the bigger picture and a shared purpose, they set the tone for those around them. This sparks a ripple effect that in an organisation creates greater workforce cohesion, fosters innovation, and improves agility and resilience in the face of challenges. In an era characterised by rapid change and complexity, influence becomes even more valuable. Leaders who can adapt and communicate effectively in diverse and cross-functional teams are better equipped to guide their organisations through tumult, bridge gaps, resolve conflicts, and navigate uncertainty with grace.

share: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn E-mail
First 100 days: Overcoming New Leader Challenges

No matter how ready you think you are for a leadership role, reality does not always match expectations. This is…

Shaping the C-Suite’s Relationship with AI

In the words of our Director, Richard Chiumento, “You probably will not lose your job to AI, but you will…

Ensuring Success When Succession Planning

With the new financial year about to begin, businesses will be confirming their budgets and determining where to spend and…

view all News & Insights