It isn’t enough to figure out where you want to take your company—you also have to get your staff to join you on the journey. In Ten Secrets of Successful Leaders, leadership consultants Donna and Lynn Brooks offer advice on how to use your powers of persuasion to build the good “followship” you need to achieve your vision. Their suggestions include:
- Don’t chase too many goals at once. Although you need to challenge your staff to stretch themselves, don’t set too many objectives at once. At any given time, a CEO should focus on just five or six strategic goals: the critical issues in the company, the key factors in the value proposition and the performance drivers.
- Tailor your style to the audience, not the content. It makes sense to talk in a different style to, say, staff on the shop floor than you would when representing your firm at a charity fundraiser. However, the message you deliver needs to be consistent.
- Humility goes a long way. Even if you have a big ego, act as if you don’t. Emotional intelligence rather than a controlling personality is a key element of persuasion. If you want your team to follow you, you have to listen to them and ask for their input, be truthful, admit mistakes, work hard and show integrity.
- Work on your writing skills. No matter how brilliant your idea may be, it will be diminished by poor grammar, spelling and composition. Because you’ll need to communicate with remote team members, clients and other audiences, you must be able to write persuasively and with authority. You never know to whom an e-mail message might be forwarded, so don’t open yourself to embarrassment by sending a badly written one.
- If you’re in a crisis, step up the communication—way up. Let your people know specifically what’s going on, to reassure them that you care about the situation and are doing something to address it. During this time, you’ll need to communicate four or five times more than you normally do. Your visibility is key to your staff’s confidence in you.