It has often been debated that Leaders are made, not born. This means that beyond the natural characteristic of every individual, certain skills and character traits need to be learnt if one desires to become a leader. The path to true leadership is filled with constant learning and upgrading of oneself.
Without that, the term “Leaders of Tomorrow” will end up as a mere wishful thinking for youths of today.
When the Global Talent Trends released their 2019 annual report, LinkedIn listed some soft skills that are most in-demand for leaders in every organization. Topping that list was Persuasion. Persuasion is a soft skill that has earned a lot of bad rap due to people’s misperception. However, it remains one of the in-demand soft skills that every leader needs to have. Other listed soft skills needed by every leader or aspiring leader include:
Fact is that people will most likely follow the lead of a credible expert in any area. This fact (also called Principle of Authority) implies that as a leader, you will attract more followers when you position yourself as an expert. However, it takes more than consideration to be accepted as an expert.
Persuasive leaders align themselves and their voice with their audience through the use of awareness and empathy. In doing that, their message resonates with what matters most to their audience. This helps leaders gain the trust of others easily.
To most persons, it’s an unwritten law to always give back to others what they have first received. It can be in terms of gift, favour, service or even actions displayed. It, therefore, becomes very important that leaders treat people with lots of respect and value. It will certainly go a long way in ensuring that value and respect are gotten in return. When leaders go out of their way to treat others with service and respect, it demonstrates how much they care about them. It will likewise increase the chances that they are seen as being persuasive.
It is often said that “Consistency builds trust”. Trust in itself is something every persuasive leader must endeavour to build. When you earn the trust of people over small decisions, with time, they will be willing and open to trust you on larger issues. Through consistency in your words and actions, your values and beliefs are made visible to people. Your followers are likely going to see you as a persuasive leader when they have identified where and what you really stand for.
The Principle of Liking has it that people find it easier to say yes to those they like. This principle can be applied in many aspects by a persuasive leader. It can be applied in getting a client to agree to purchase a new product or services, or in getting promotion from your superior. From persuasion science, it is believed that people will find it easier to like those who practice kindness and pays them regular compliments. People are also drawn in a way to those who are similar to them, and those who will cooperate with them towards a set goal. So, for leaders to increase their likability, and in turn their persuasion factor, they need to focus genuinely on others.
From the Principle of Scarcity, people prefer to go for those things they can have less of, rather than the others readily available. For this cause, every leader ought to apply this principle in becoming more persuasive. Robert Cialdini, author of ‘how to win friends, and Influence people’ advice that when trying to persuade people, informing them of the benefits they’ll gain isn’t just enough. There is a need to also point out to them the uniqueness of your proposition, and their loss should they decide not to consider your proposal.