Working Together to Achieve Results

As a leader, a primary responsibility is to gain your team’s commitment and support to the organization’s vision and goals. Getting total agreement from each team member on how to reach those goals is not always possible. But if a team is to work together, there must be some consensus on how to proceed. The first step is to get team members to put aside their personal preferences and agree to the specific goals they want to achieve, as well as agree on the methods to achieve them.

You, as the leader, are responsible for bringing about such a consensus. The tool for accomplishing this purpose is the power of persuasion. Accepting the role of leader ethically binds you to use authority, influence, and logic in leading others to act in the best interests of the organization. Persuasion is clearly the preferred choice of the effective leader. Consider these techniques for becoming more persuasive:

  • Build a solid reputation. Establish a reputation for honesty and integrity. The ancient philosopher Aristotle recognized the importance of character when he said, “Character is the most effective agent of persuasion.” Character is best observed in attitudes and actions. Character is demonstrated by doing what you say you will do. Character is the Golden Rule of persuasion. Strengthen your character, and you strengthen your power to persuade.
  • Create a climate of mutual trust. In addition to establishing a reputation for honesty and integrity, do all you can to create a climate of mutual trust. Be a team player, be patient, be fair, be objective, be tolerant, be forgiving. Distrust in an organization creates game playing, blaming, “politics,” and other destructive behaviors. But when everybody in the organization knows they can trust what you say and what you do, they tend to model their behavior after yours, and they are more likely to follow your leadership.
  • Listen attentively. Most people will only open their minds to your ideas after they feel you have listened to them and acknowledged their opinions. When associates feel understood, they are much more willing to consider your ideas. Careful listening is often more persuasive than polished speaking. In addition, you gain many good ideas that may not have occurred to you. Be willing to compromise and incorporate some of the ideas of others as long as your objectives can still be met. Achieving the goal is your purpose — not imposing all of your ideas about how to achieve it.
  • Prepare to persuade. Have all the facts and issues clearly in mind before attempting to persuade. Anticipate possible objections and prepare for them. Be supportive if defensiveness or hostility surfaces in the reactions of team members. Be sure that you are right most of the time. If you customarily speak before you are fully informed, people soon begin to react defensively to everything you say. Prepare your case and present it with brevity and clarity.
  • Demonstrate positive attitudes. Plan every action with the intent to produce the best possible results for the organization, for your peers, and for team members. For persuasion to be effective, it must be beneficial for all. When you adopt a positive attitude toward your own responsibility as a leader, every action you take benefits the organization and creates goodwill with your coworkers. The ability to persuade works best when you sincerely care about your team members. True concern ensures that your persuasive powers are directed toward mutual benefits for both individual employees and the organization.

Communicate Authentically to Others

People are the wellspring of productivity; dealing with associates through integrity and authenticity is imperative from both a human and a business standpoint. Successful leadership depends on communicating your organization’s vision to team members and gaining their support and commitment to that vision. The best way to accomplish that goal is through clear, effective, and authentic communication. Begin today to become an authentic communicator!