Do you want to be a leader or a follower? To me, the answer is both. Sometimes, we want to get out in front of things and show our leadership skills. Other times, we need to be a cooperative and collaborative team member.

But, if we are not experienced or “natural born” leaders, what can we do to make ourselves better? Minda Zetlin writes for Inc. that: “Ever wish you were better at getting people to do what you want? You can be. All it takes is practice and desire.”

According to Zetlin, there are ten things that we can do to better influence others to follow our leadership:

  1. Listen — “Even if you already know what people are going to say, and even if there’s no way you can do what they want, start by listening.”
  2. Ask questions — “Careful questioning will help you determine what people really want, which is often different from what they say they want.”
  3. Make a human (personal) connection with people — “Look for ways to connect that have nothing to do with the work at hand.”
  4. Be more informal — “Decide what you feel comfortable having other people know about you, and then give them a few details. You’ll make other people feel safer and engage their human side.”
  5. Never miss an opportunity to say thank you.
  6. Never miss a chance to praise someone — “Most of us never get enough praise for the things we work hard to do.”
  7. Don’t be afraid to apologize — “An apology is one of the most powerful tools you have for winning people to your side.”
  8. Try to determine what goals others are seeking — “If you can figure out what people really want or need and make sure they get it, they’ll be that much more likely to give you what you need from them.”
  9. Help others not to be or feel embarrassed by anything — such as publicly applying for a job for which he/she is not qualified.
  10. Use the phone more and texting and E-mail less — “There are times when a phone call or face-to-face communication makes a big difference.”

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14 Replies to “Secrets for Influencing Others”

  1. This post really relates to what I have been taught my whole life. I think that if more people in the world were to say such a simple thing as thank you that many more doors would be oppened. You never know where being nice will take you in life, especially with strangers

  2. I like the take this article gives on leadership. Instead of the “I’m better than you are” mentality some company leaders might have, this article shows that a proper leader can take a humanitarian approach and treat others as equals. Actually paying attention to the concerns of others can go a long way in getting others to follow you. It’s just reciprocation for treating them like human beings.

  3. I can agree with this article in that often times being more personal and genuine to others gets them to do what you want. Through personal experience, if a leader is on a power trip and acts too forcefully in exhibiting their leadership power, most people do not want to listen nor follow instructions. When a leader doesn’t come off as forceful and acts as a genuine sincere person, more people are willing to listen and help out. Most times, being the nicer individual helps one to be the most effective leader.

  4. This article presents a different aspect of leadership that isn’t always as emphasized as it should be. A leader should never view themselves as superior to others, even if they may be more capable and have certain skills. I agree with this article because there are so many ways in which a leader can demonstrate that they actually do care about others. Simple things like saying thank you or apologizing can go a long way. Even if you’re a leader, being humble will only make you more appreciated and respected.

  5. I agree with this article in many ways. I have always been the kind of person who likes to be a leader in many ways. I always try to incorporate or let my ideas be heard to people and always ask for there views on it. I always try and incorporate people with my ideas so that they can give feedback as well as join my way as well. Also, I never let anyone tell me something without saying thankyou. The little things are what matter the most. If you want people to be on your side or follow you, you need to give them a reason too. You cannot expect someone to follow you if you do not even give them the opportunity for questions or feedback. We want to lead but as well follow others to get to the leadership position that we want.

  6. I personally feel like this article is maybe a little misleading. I feel like once you’re established as a leader or a follower, it is very difficult to change people’s perspective of you. People will be much more willing to follow another’s leadership if they do those things listed above, but once you look at them as a follower it will be harder to change their mind.

    1. I really like this article. I think it makes some great points and definitely some things I will keep in mind when meeting and building relationships with people. I think its important to be a leader and show you can take initiative. But it is also extremely important to know how to be a team player and be able to listen and take in consideration what your team members think. This way if they feel like there opinion has been heard and that they are contributing they will be more willing to respect you. Building strong relationships are very important. You never know how that person can help or affect you!

      1. I think that interpersonal relationships are the key to life. There is no better feeling than connecting with another person. It’s not even about leadership, you should always be kind to others and try to make their day better, even with just a smile.

  7. All of these tips are fantastic, except I don’t exactly believe they will help anybody become a better leader. Not everyone is influenced by the simple things listed in this post, so it may be hard to have influence over many people. To me, it just sounds like this are tips to be a good person and forming great relationships with others, not tips to be an influential leader.

  8. Tips one and ten really resonated with me the most. I think that listening is such an undervalued quality! Everybody wants to be heard and if you are consistently a good listener it will be remembered and admired by others. When someone is speaking to me I always try to be sure to not speak until they have completely gotten their point out. I also think tip ten is a really awesome one because phone calls these days are so rare! I understand the ease and quickness associated with a text or an email but I have been a victim many times of misconstrued statements that would not have been the case if it was a phone call. Additionally, the rarity of a phone call makes one even more meaningful.

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