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Influential Leader: How to Command Respect and Speak So Others Will Listen

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the most frequent questions about leadership is this: should you be feared or liked?

Some leaders are influential because they frighten their team into submission. People, therefore, do not want to upset you, and thus they will do precisely what you instruct. When you are a strict leader who has been known to reprimand the team, this can gain you a reputation for being no-nonsense.

That is one approach, anyway.

The other approach is to try and be liked. The idea here is that.

You become someone people enjoy spending time with and can enjoy socializing as a team. You are a friend to your team, meaning they will want to please you out of respect and kindness. Thus, when you ask them to do something, they do it!

So, which is better?

Ultimately, neither. Your aim should be neither to terrify your staff into obedience – which creates ill-feeling. Likewise, it should not be to try and be the class clown, which will undermine respect.

Instead, be yourself. At the same time, be somewhat detached from the goings-on of the office such that you can take an impartial view when helping to settle disputes or help with personal issues.

Think of your role as a "friendly guardian" or "kindly magician" more than "disciplinarian dictator" or "everyone's mate.”

By doing this, you can command more respect by keeping that slight air of separation while at the same time giving your staff every reason to like you and no reason to think less of you.

The other reason to keep a little more detached from the rest of the team is so that they can feel more relaxed and freer to enjoy work. From that point, when you step in, it will be more of a novelty to hear you getting involved. That, in turn, means that people will listen because it is uncommon for you to speak in the first place!

From that point, it is all about the way you speak.

Speak So Others Will Listen

You have been in your office, allowing your team to talk among themselves outside, checking in to ensure everyone is okay.

Now it is time to talk and to supply some strategy or direction. How do you do this so that people will listen and take what you have to heart?

Speaking commandingly is one of the most critical aspects of leadership outside the office.

If you want your children to pay attention to you, or if you're" going to rise to the occasion during a crisis, you need to know how to command attention.

Here are some of the essential tips.

Speak more slowly

Tip number one is to speak more slowly. Doing this will make you seem calmer and more confident in what you have to say. At the same time, speaking more slowly makes your voice sound lower, and it makes you appear more intelligent. You will also be less likely to stumble over your words this way.

Think of any heroic leader from fiction, and they will typically have a measured, deep, booming voice. You can conduct this by simply speaking more slowly.

Leave Silence

Another tip is to recognize the power of silence. Do not be afraid to ask a rhetorical question and let it hang. Do not be afraid to build some suspense for what you will say next! Do not be scared to ask a rhetorical question and let it ride. Too many of us are constantly urged to rush everything we have to say out at once. Though, the silence between the individual statements often has the most impact. It shows poise, control, patience, and confidence.

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