As a manager, having influence over your team is crucial for accomplishing goals and driving results. However, influence isn’t just about formal authority. You can increase your influence by understanding human psychology and using specific techniques tailored to motivate employees. Here are some research-backed tips for boosting your influence as a manager:
Leverage the Fundamental Attribution Error
The “fundamental attribution error” refers to our tendency to explain someone’s behaviour based on internal factors like personality, rather than external factors like circumstance. When employees make mistakes, avoid assuming it’s due to laziness or incompetence. Instead, consider environmental reasons like inadequate training, lack of resources, or unclear directives. Seek to understand before you are understood.
Use the Principle of Consistency
According to the principle of consistency, people aim to act in alignment with previous commitments and statements. Publicly compliment employees who exhibit desired behaviours so they continue acting consistently. Likewise, ensure your own actions mirror what you expect from your team. Leading by example boosts your influence.
Increase Their Sense of Ownership
Studies show that when employees feel ownership over projects and decisions, they’re more engaged and committed to success. Provide meaningful opportunities for employees to take initiative and exercise autonomy. Outline the desired outcomes, but let them choose how to achieve goals.
Build Rapport Through Matching
Matching someone’s body language and speech patterns subconsciously increases rapport and liking. Use this technique judiciously to build trust and affinity with team members. Matching energy levels and communication styles helps them feel “heard and understood.” But avoid mimicking negative behaviours.
Harness the Power of Reciprocation
The reciprocity norm refers to the obligation people feel to repay favours, gifts and support. While you shouldn’t use this to coerce employees, thoughtful gestures like listening to their concerns or providing mentorship makes them more likely to reciprocate with loyalty and hard work. Just ensure you offer support unconditionally without expecting anything in return.
Mastering these psychological techniques requires empathy, ethics and respect. But when applied correctly, you can become a more influential manager who earns dedication through inspiration rather than demanding obedience. With the right approach, your team will go above and beyond.