A leader is someone who others follow and has strength and conviction. They should be inspirational and role models. Leaders are not born; they are made. While it takes a lot of time and effort to become a leader, it is possible with the right mindset and actions.
People may have different takes on what they look for in a leader. Their definition may vary. But one thing for sure is being influential helps in becoming an effective leader. It’s genuinely how you inspire others to emulate you or at least spark their interest.
You can be a leader but being an influential one is a different story. It is not impossible to achieve both, however. There are just some ways you have to go about it. Here are a few tips:
1. Be knowledgeable
This is an essential tip but also the most important one. Leaders should be knowledgeable about the things they are talking about. They should know what they are doing and be able to explain it well to others. This will make it easier for people to understand and follow their lead.
Take Neo Kian Hong, the CEO of the leading transportation firm in Singapore, SMRT Corporation, as an example. To learn more about the operations, he would often spend some time accompanying the staff on their shifts. This way, he can understand their issues and come up with solutions to address them.
Knowledge is power; most of the time, you can acquire knowledge if the practical experience is gained. Being hands-on allows leaders to know their followers more.
2. Be passionate
Passion is one of the most important traits of a leader. They should be passionate about their work and the people they lead. This way, they would be able to inspire others to do the same.
Being passionate also takes a lot of dedication. Let’s not go too far from the previous example. Another SMRT personality Seah Moon Ming showed how passionate he was when appointed as the transportation company director. He stepped down as chief executive of Pavilion Energy, where he served as a chief executive. He did this to focus more on his new role in SMRT.
That’s one perfect display of passion and dedication. It takes a lot to give up something you have been doing for a long time, but if it’s for the greater good, it is worth it.
3. Be authentic
Authentic leaders lead with integrity and remain true to themselves and their beliefs. Others respect such leaders because they are genuine and honest. People are naturally drawn to authentic leaders because they can trust them.
Being an authentic leader doesn’t mean having all the answers, but it does mean being transparent, admitting when you don’t know something, and being open to learning and growth. Authentic leaders inspire people because they can see that these leaders are real people who are on a journey just like them.
When you lead with authenticity, you gain the trust and respect of others, which is essential for becoming an influential leader.
4. Be humble
One of the most important things that a leader should have is humility. Yes, leaders are often put on a pedestal, but that doesn’t mean they should act like they are better than everyone else. Leaders should be down-to-earth and approachable. People should feel like they can talk to their leaders without feeling intimidated.
The value of humility in leadership or any business setup cannot be overemphasized. A leader needs to understand that they are not perfect and that there is always room for improvement. This way, they would be able to gain the trust of their followers more easily.
Being humble also allows leaders to be more open to suggestions and criticism. They would be able to listen to the people they are leading more carefully and consider their opinions.
5. Be a great communicator
Excellent communication is one of a leader’s most critical skills. After all, how can you inspire and motivate others if you can’t effectively communicate your vision?
Leaders who communicate effectively can rally people around a common cause and build consensus, even in the face of disagreement. They also know how to listen attentively and respectfully, which is essential for building trust.
Furthermore, great communicators can articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely, whether speaking to large groups or one-on-one. To become an influential leader, start by honing your communication skills. It will make all the difference.
It may require a lot of skills to become an influential leader. But all these can pay off eventually. Not only for the sake of the leader themselves but also for the people being led and for the company or organization as a whole. Being an influential leader can do wonders.