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4 June 2020
The role of the communicator in influence and leadership

There are six pieces of advice that I always give when it comes to leadership and influence. During the MemCom conference this week I chatted through all six with examples from real experiences as well as books and podcasts to check out:

  1. Be genuine

This isn’t about being authentic, it’s about being genuinely you. To do that, you have to be a little bit vulnerable but with that comes courage. Being brave or being daring is a leadership approach pioneered by Brene Brown. Her books, podcast and Netflix programme are all worth checking out if this is an area of interest too.

  1. Lead with empathy

Listen first. Listen to understand, not reply and really listen. Listen to the words people use, how they say them and pay attention to them – be present in the conversation. Take a servant leadership approach and ask ‘how can I help?’

  1. Be intentional

Matt Haig talks about editing your choices in his book Notes on a nervous planet and his advice that you can’t watch every film or read every book is very true. Be intentional with your time and align it to your goals. When you have a clear direction, others will follow.

  1. Purpose

This isn’t necessarily about you having a huge purpose but Simon Farrell talks about organisations being purposeful or purpose-led and this is a great approach to explore. Consider motivation and the link between purpose, autonomy and mastery. You will struggle to influence if your only reason for doing something is financial reward.

  1. Be the expert

Being told your opinion is not enough in the boardroom was enough to encourage me to complete my diploma in internal communication. Most people who get qualified do so to increase confidence so don’t underestimate investing in yourself. You need the right skills to be able to advise others and being an expert in your field will create trust.

  1. Demonstrate value and integrity

Ask the question – what does value mean to you in terms of what I do? The answer will help you shape how you talk about what you do and allow you to influence better based on the way you frame what you’re doing. If you say you’re going to do something, do it  integrity is so important for trust and as a result, leadership and influence.

We talked about confidence training, difficult conversations with leaders where ego is a factor and whether being a female leader makes any difference. I’ve long been a fan of coaching to support skills in influence and leadership so it’s definitely worth exploring this as an option if this is an area of interest for you.

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