Your effectiveness as a leader is based on your ability to earn other people's trust and respect. It doesn't matter if you are leading a large discussion, a sales presentation or a small group. It matters not if the people are family, work colleagues, customers, strangers or volunteers. It is inconsequential if the topic of discussion is serious or light in nature. If people do not look up to you for authority, good judgment and stability it will be more difficult to engage them to act thus making it unlikely that they will follow you, buy your product or service, favor your opinion, take steps to advance your vision or just want to be around you.
So how do you influence people's trust and respect? It's simple. Understand that trust and respect are earned.
Seven Steps that will Lead Others to Follow You
1. Always keep you cool. Pause if you need to. But do NOT react emotionally. People will tune you out - sometimes forever - once you have lost your cool in front of them.
2. Recognize how you communicate. Is your style dominant or influential? Are you highly structured and steady or compliant and procedural. Whichever it is, learn to analyze the personality types that are not your own and how best to identify what the other person needs in order to feel safe. Connecting with them won't come naturally so you have to practice how to approach them by understanding their needs.
3. Build rapport by listening at the deepest level. Envision a large piece of masking tape over your mouth. Listen. Just listen and try to understand what they fear.
4. Demonstrate curiosity and compassion. Ask thoughtful questions that begin with anything but "why."
5. Sincerely affirm that you understand their perspective. Show that you have shared a similar perspective in the past. Equate their feelings to something personal in your life.
6. Explain the facts that caused you to take your position. Give anecdotal examples of how you benefited from changing your position on something in the past.
7. Clearly define what's changed in your actions after gaining this wisdom. Describe the benefit of having taken an "about-face" on an issue. Define how considering another perspective made a difference.
If you follow these simple steps you will find that you are infinitely more effective. Start now!
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Mary Lee Gannon is the president of StartingOverNow.com - Transforming People and Organizations with Goals-to-Results. With more than 16 years of experience as a CEO of organizations with up to $26 million in assets, Mary Lee coaches executives and organizations with a Goals-Accountability-Results system. Read testimonials from her clients. She is a graduate of The Duquesne University Professional Coaching Program and an alumnus of the 2010 Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership Conference. Her personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother with four children under seven-years-old who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where she rose to the level of CEO to support her family. Areas of Specialty: Strategic Planning / Board Development / Executive Coaching / Healthcare / Public Relations / Meeting Facilitation / Leadership / Productivity / Life/Career Transition. Her book "Starting Over - 25 Rules for When You've Bottomed Out" is available in bookstores and from online booksellers.
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