If you own a business or run a team, you have undoubtedly questioned how you get your people to do what you want. It seems they don’t listen, and you can’t move in the same direction cohesively.
You constantly feel like you’re putting out fires; there’s so much drama with everybody around you, and you don’t know how to deal with it or where to begin; you feel incredibly frustrated because you want to be successful. And yet, you feel bogged down by dealing with everything happening around you versus being focused on the business’s bottom line, building the team cohesively, and having all move together in one direction.
All of this can be quite painful and exhausting. How do you get your people to listen? How do you unify and move forward together? There’s an inside-outside or internal-external approach to all of this stuff.
You want to build trust. Trust moves people together; it gets your team to listen and positions you to influence others as a manager, leader, or business owner. So trust is the ultimate goal. But how do you build trust? There are four primary elements to focus on.
It would be best to focus on behavior, proper behavior, or how you and your team, individually and collectively, respond to one another. It’s the way that they respond to external situations, it’s the way that they respond to clients who are frustrated and aggravated, or if there’s a downturn in the business. You’re not driving as much revenue as possible.
All of these stresses are what impact their behavior. And so the behavior does not change overnight at the flip of a switch, right? If you’ve had specific struggles in your past, and you’re overeating again, drinking touch, or your relationships aren’t working, you must examine what got you here.
What are the things you’re doing that put you in this situation over and over and over again, and then start to make slight changes over time to create a new behavior and pattern? The same thing happens with your team and the people in your organization. If you look at the past and the data and say, okay, when we as a team are struggling and we’re feeling stressed, I’ve observed that backtracking starts, right? People start resenting one another.
So now, to change that behavior, you have to find a way to nip that in the bud, get in there, and start having conversations that will help them work through those challenging times. Because moving towards a unified goal is not about getting everybody to be agreeable all the time; people will have their ideas and perspectives. But it is about getting in there and allowing people to share their views to share what’s bothering them, and then find ways and teach people how to be receptive to differing opinions.
The more people can talk about the things that bother them, the more you can build that trust and move forward cohesively.
The second thing you want to focus on is responsibility. Now, responsibility takes many forms, right? There’s the tactical piece where you say, I’m going to go out, and I’m going to send 100 emails a day, right, and I’m going to be responsible for following through.
The responsibility that I’m talking about is an internal job. When something bothers you, and you feel stressed, and have an emotional response, rather than doing the easy thing, which most people do by blaming other people and being a victim, is saying, “You know what, that’s my emotion, I’m going to be responsible for how I handle it and how I manage it.”
This is vital on an individual level, and it becomes critical with your team when you want to move them toward that unified goal. As a leader, it’s up to you to teach your team members how to be emotionally responsible; you can’t assume that everybody will have the same level of emotional intelligence, essentially knowing how to work with your emotions.
Okay, the third element that you want to focus on is empowerment. How do you empower others? It’s best to think about empowerment in three terms.
The first one is listening. Listening is one of those things that is easy to do. You stop and hear; however, most people don’t do it well. And the reason most people don’t do it well is because they are concerned about what they’re going to say next. Am I going to look good? How can I bring the conversation back to me? I’m so excited about sharing something with the other person, etc.
When dealing with conflict or wanting better to understand the pains of your clients or prospects, listening becomes essential. It would be best to teach your people what it means to be a good listener—entering into conversations from a position of neutrality and objectivity.
This takes practice like anything else. But listening is one of the most important things you can develop to empower your people and have them feel that sense of empowerment when speaking with others.
The second part is acknowledging one of the most underutilized skills is simply telling somebody, “Hey, you’re doing an awesome job.” Whatever the words of acknowledgment are, it’s essential that you acknowledge the people around you and that you teach them to acknowledge one another.
And then the third part is silence. Silence is one of those underutilized skills as well, that can be incredibly powerful. Everyone’s often rushed to get out and share their opinion on things. But at the end of the day, if you can just be silent and listen, letting others know what they’re saying is essential. This is how you build empowerment within your team, and this is how you create empowered leaders around you.
And the fourth part we’re talking about here today is influence. It’s one of those things that we all want to have in our lives, right? You want to be able to influence decisions. To move a team, you got to unify direction towards a common goal; you have to feel like you’re going to control the world, influence your prospects to influence your clients, and affect other people within the organization.
A big misconception around influence is that there’s this element of manipulation, I need to get what I want, and I’ll do anything to get it. That’s not what I’m talking about. Influence is speaking with a sense of authority; it’s encouraging the people on your team to fail forward, which means you’re not always going to get everything exactly correct. But take risks, be willing to use your voice, and understand that you have authority within you to be influential in the world.
The big thing is, as a leader, that if you can teach your people to feel like they influence the world, it will help you have more influence as their leader. Doing all these things ideally is not the end goal here. This is about incrementally getting better at running your organization, managing a team, and understanding that the only growth that lasts is incremental.
If you’re an executive or business leader and want more support in these areas, I offer individual coaching; check it out here.
We also support companies and teams to get aligned through our Art Of Masterful Communication group coaching program.