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Harness the power of good influence

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Sweat the small stuff in your day-to-day dealings with the people you lead, says Teresa Amabile, a professor and researcher for the Harvard Business School.

Think: “Might what I’m about to do or say become this person’s ‘event of the day’?”

Amabile lists five good actions that produce a positive influence:
  1. Support people emotionally. In one example, the boss was on vacation but took the time to call employees with news of an organizational change that wasn’t as bad as the rumor mill had predicted. The employees appreciated the call.

  2. Monitor people’s work in an encouraging way, particularly by giving them positive feedback and providing them the information they need to do their work better.

  3. “Recognize people for good performance,” Amabile says, “particularly in public settings.”

  4. Consult with team members. That means asking for their views, respecting their opinions and acting on their needs and ideas as much as you can.

  5. Collaborate by rolling up your sleeves and working on a project.
And Amabile cites three notably bad things leaders do:
  1. Under- or over-specifying assignments. In other words, too little guidance or too many constraints.

  2. Hovering, hanging around or generally monitoring too much. Monitoring too little also poses a problem.

  3. Avoiding problems or creating them. For instance, waiting to stop a project until it’s past the point of no return.
—Adapted from “The Power of Ordinary Practices,” Michael Roberts, HBS Working Knowledge, http://hbswk.hbs.edu.

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