The importance of motivating and inspiring, vs just managing
At the top levels of healthcare leadership, responsibility is a given, but respect is not automatic. While many executives believe that a C-suite title provides influence implicitly, this is not the case. Leadership and influence are very different things; while leadership suggests the responsibility of managing others, influence is the ability to inspire, produce results and drive change.
True influencers are effective change agents with the skills to anticipate and manage the many levels on which people are impacted by change, while balancing all aspects of the organization also affected by change. Even during times of transition, effective influencers do not dictate; they motivate and inspire. To enhance your ability to influence your team, ask yourself these four questions:
Do you understand the audience you wish to influence?
It takes time and effort to learn about the people on your team, but this is time well spent. If you understand your team, you are able to leverage their passions, ideas and personalities as you work to inspire them to execute your vision for your organization. It is also important to embrace the politics of your organization in order to advance your strategic initiatives; learn about the system in place, the culture and the individuals in order to elevate your value in the eyes of the team.
Do the people on your team like you?
People respond best to those who they view in a positive light. This does not mean becoming a “friend” to your team members, it means behaving as a connected and empathetic leader. When you reflect on your relationship with your team, identify if there are ways you need to change your communication style to better demonstrate your vision. Do not be afraid to conduct honest, authentic self-promotion in order to ensure your message gets through.
Does your team feel supported?
If your team does not see your commitment to their interests, they will be difficult to inspire and may find it hard to trust you. Earning trust is a critical point, as more people are willing to try new things when guided by someone they trust. People are also best influenced by those they can depend on; your team will be inspired and motivated to execute for you if they see your confidence in them. Work to move barriers to success, communicate openly, offer feedback and recognition and provide support, individually and to the team.
Do you lead by example?
Living your values and demonstrating a commitment to your goals will inspire your team members to do the same. People want to follow someone who is blazing a path, not sitting on the sidelines. Bring in your network of contacts, demonstrate your scope of experience and clearly state your plans for the future. Position yourself as an executive with a strong sense of purpose and a plan to achieve long-term goals. This will gain confidence in you as a leader and achieve buy-in for your organizational vision.
Influence is not about driving employees’ actions – it is about winning over their hearts and minds. Taking the time to answer these questions and create an action plan where needed will allow you to move forward as a leader who gains stronger influence over your team. Once you have your plan in place, set up check-points to promote accountability and ways to measure success. Leaders who use influence, rather than the authority of their title, to gain buy-in, drive change and establish strategic goals are setting their team up for success.
While great organizations recognize the need for top tier leadership, forward-thinking organizations understand the need to put processes in place to intentionally cultivate that leadership. Organizations with skilled leaders focus on innovation and quality, allowing productivity to flourish and creating a culture where employees feel motivated and empowered.
To learn more about successful leadership strategies or to discuss your organization’s leadership goals, contact the Cejka Search team here.