Are you an influential leader? Answer these 5 questions and find out.

Are you an influential leader? Answer these 5 questions and find out.

Being an influential leader is something that’s getting a lot of traction at the moment. It’s no surprise either, research shows that businesses with higher employee engagement enjoy a significantly higher operating profit. Being an influential leader can help you do that.

It’s useful to widen your tool kit to get the best out of people. When you do, you’re improving your financial performance. To do this, you need to engage people at the deepest level of influence.

One of the fundamental ways to influence people is through the language that you use. Words have power. Much more than you may realise.

At POD HR and Training, we help business leaders to use their language in a way that reaches people at a deeper level. The kind of language that goes beyond conscious thinking and accesses the beliefs and values in the subconscious mind.

You might be thinking that this is a little far-fetched or “woo-woo”! I assure you, it’s nothing mystical. It’s simply and process and structure.

As a Master Practitioner of NLP, I’ve been through intense training to master effective language patterns that facilitate change for people.

This is why most of my professional life has been spent helping businesses address the toughest people challenges and facilitating change. It saves time and money for the business by retaining employees and bringing out the best in them, and I love the work!

There are so many tools out there to help us train our employees and give them skills. Unfortunately, what often holds an employee back is a limiting belief or a blockage in the way they manage their mind.

NLP can provide these tools and techniques to empower people to unlock the right doors to step into a better version of themselves.

As I’ve seen the huge influence that language can have, I believe all leaders can improve their results by learning how to use it. That’s why I share tips, tools, and techniques that I’ve personally gained and seen success from. I wish I had them at the beginning of my leadership journey!

Aside from that, you’re probably keen to check out your influence. So let’s get into figuring out how influential you are right now!

Leader talking at a conference and influencing the audience

How to figure out how influential you are right now

If you want to measure how influential you are, consider these questions.

1- Have you asked every employee what is important to them about their career?

I don’t want you to confuse this with asking them what they want, or what progression they’re after. That’s not the deepest level of influence you can have as a Leader.

This question is actually very carefully worded to access your employees’ values system. When you understand your employees’ values, you know exactly what buttons to press to influence them.

Mastering this will make you incredibly influential.

Often we can make assumptions about what’s important to people. The key is to ask! You need to ask each and every single one of your employees so you know exactly how to fire them up and get them motivated to work.

There’s a specific technique to elicit the full set of values from your employees which you can find here in our “The art of great questioning” article here.

Leader chatting with their team and influencing them to do work

2- Do you know their learning style?

I’ve worked with many leaders that believe they’re great at training people. I have no doubt that they had great qualities and they were good at what they did. However, if they’re not adapting their training style to the learning style of the employee, their great training wouldn’t be absorbed properly and so wouldn’t be effective.

There are 2 different learning style theories you can use.

One is the VAK model. This is for primarily visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic learners.

So how do you know what kind of learners they are?

There are a few signs to look out for:

When you’re training someone with an auditory preference, you might see them tilting their head. This is because unconsciously they want to create space for the ear to receive everything it needs.

Auditory learners want to hear you talk it through and explain it to them. Or, they want to hear themselves talking it through and get your reassurance.

Visual learners love a diagram or a picture, or perhaps a video. They want to watch or observe. They tend to be the ones that sit upright in training so they can see everything.

Kinaesthetic learners need to experience things for themselves.

They need to get to grips with it by feeling how it works. They’ll often be holding something too, like the manual or the product.

There’s specific sensory language to use to have the most influence for each preferred style. No-one is solely just one. We all experience the world through sight, sound, and feelings.

As a leader, it’s powerful to be able to fluently speak each language style to adapt to the employee you’re influencing.

Your employees will quite literally think “Wow! This Boss is really speaking my language!”

If you want to find out more about language styles, we’ve got an eBook on staff development and how to get the best results from your training, including the second learning style theory which you can download for free here.

3- Do you know what they look for in a Manager?

It’s easy as a Manager to talk about what you expect from your employees. It’s usually one of the first things that happens!

The key question is: Have you sat your employee down and ask them what they want or need from you?

When you do that, you learn exactly how to be what they want you to be. You can always be sure that you’re adapting to suit what will attract the best results from that individual.

Even deeper than that, it creates a psychological balance of give and take. The fact that you’re considering them and wanting to give the best to them encourages them to give the best to you, taking more of your words on board.

A Leader talking to their team in a meeting and influencing their future work

4- Are you in rapport with your employees?

Rapport is massively influential. When you have rapport, resistance just melts away.

Rapport is like a trance state with everything flowing and easy. Your communication will feel really good with your team and everything will be easier.

Resistance is a sign of a lack of rapport.

The essence of rapport is this: When people are like each other, they like each other.

Research shows that 55% of communication is based on non-verbal communication. Your body language, positioning, and facial expressions could be building rapport or creating a giant wall between you and your employees.

Many people perceive rapport to be simply matching and mirroring. For true influence you have to get much deeper than that.

It’s also about energy.

When two subconscious minds recognise similarities they open up to more connection and trust.

If you want to find out more about rapport, we have an article about the secrets of rapport here.

5- Are you using Milton Model language patterns?

These are some of my favourite language patterns!

They’ve enabled me to speak in a way that engages the deeper mind. I can guarantee that more of what I say is retained by whoever I speak to.

They are extremely powerful and make sweet sentences with luxury ribbons wrapped around them. Your team will want to untie the ribbon and unfold the paper to see what’s in there for them.

Cause and effect is one of those language patterns.

We build our worlds on cause and effect.

I’ve heard all sorts when I’ve worked with clients previously.

“Because we’re a small business, we can’t attract the talent we want”

“Because we’re in the care profession, we’ll always have high absence”

“Because our competitors have cheaper prices, we can’t win the business we want”

All of these statements we’re making to ourselves sound pretty believable don’t they?

That’s because the mind receives it and accepts it with a cause and effect. Now, this can either be empowering, or disempowering.

The examples I gave are disempowering. They don’t need to be true at all.

Be sure to use your language in an influential way that engages AND empowers. Like these…

“Because we all have different strengths, we make a great team”

“Because you understand the job so well, you’re ready to increase your responsibility”

“Because you ask great questions, you’re expanding your knowledge significantly”

Cause and effect is only one Milton Model language pattern. There are several that can be useful in the workplace and I always make sure to include them all in my training sessions with sales teams and customer service teams as I know their value.

When customer facing teams can use their language more consciously, they’re going to be hugely successful. This also includes Leadership. In fact, anyone who interacts with other humans can benefit from them!

I’ve written an article about making sure your message is heard which goes into more depth with the Milton Model if you’re interested in learning more.

Leader chatting to their team and being influential to motivate them

Regardless of whether you said yes to all 5 questions and you’re a walking glow of influence, or if there are some areas you can improve, thank you for reading this article!

The fact that you care about influence enough to read this to the end means that you’ll be more influential in your team.

If you’d like more guidance on this topic, feel free to email me. Or, if you’d like training on language for your teams or leaders, check out our bespoke training page here.

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