Seven Strategies for Inspiring People to Follow You

You can appoint a manager but leadership must be earned.

By: James Delrojo

There are, however, some strategies that can help you earn that mantle. In this article I will outline seven such strategies for you to use if you choose to.

Strategy 1:

Paint your vision in terms of the benefits your followers will receive.

The three most common classes of benefits that will induce people to follow a leader are:-

1) A solution to a perceived problem that they have been unable to solve for themselves.

2) A promise of something that they desire but don’t know how to get.

3) A feeling that they are an important part of a greater purpose.

Often the vision will involve all three of the benefit classes. An example of this would be a socialist revolution where the followers are promised a solution to poverty, a better future than they have now, and a chance to be a hero of the people.

With this combination of perceived benefits people are willing to follow their leader to the death if need be, even if the promises are totally unrealistic.

Strategy 2:

Build enthusiasm by building a picture of their final reward.

Most people don’t have an inspiring vision for their future. A leader who paints that vision for them will gain loyal followers.

Religions do this very well by painting a vision of a magnificent after-life for those who follow their teachings.

Strategy 3:

Describe your ideas in inspiring, motivating language.

Most people, when they take in information, use a mental representation of the information encoded in one or more of the five senses. This helps them understand and absorb that information.

Good leaders will use metaphors that help their followers mentally see, feel, touch, hear, and even smell the leader’s vision. In this way they are aligning their vision with the way the listeners are processing and so the listeners will more fully absorb and accept what is being said.

The good leader also uses lots of emotion in the delivery of their message as it has been shown that emotion is the mental glue that causes ideas to stick in the brain and influence behavior.

Strategy 4:

Show faith in your followers.

A good leader shows faith in his followers by asking them to perform some task.

The leader initially chooses tasks that he knows the followers will do well and then rewards them by showing great appreciation that makes the follower feel that he is a valuable member of the team. 

Strategy 5:

Build Faith.

If a follower has a well practiced habit of agreeing with everything you say and do, then when they are asked for a leap of faith they will have the confidence in you to give you their faith.

Leaders build this faith gradually by consistently doing things that will be perceived as right by their followers and not asking the follower to challenge their own beliefs too early in the relationship.

Strategy 6:

Reward people with increased rapport or appropriate praise as they move toward the outcome you desire. Gently reduce rapport as they move away from your position.

When two people are in rapport they feel comfortable. When they are out of rapport they feel stressed. The skilled leader uses techniques like mirroring and matching to consciously control the level of rapport the other person feels

They increase rapport when the person is falling in line with the leader’s position and decrease the rapport when the person is drifting from the leader’s position. The person feels this at a subconscious level and interprets this as a gut feeling that the leader’s position is a good one.

Strategy 7:

Always keep your promises exactly.

A good leader keeps every promise exactly as promised. This consistency builds great confidence amongst his followers.

So there you have the seven strategies for becoming a leader. You may feel that these strategies are good or you may feel that they are manipulative. But regardless of what you feel these are the strategies that leaders are using either consciously or subconsciously.

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About Amr Badran

An Egyptian Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer since 1997. I've trained on Management, Leadership and Soft Skills to thousands of people from many nationalities, backgrounds and professions in more than 10 countries across the Middle and Far East. Holder of an MBA and a Candidate for Doctorate in Business. Find more about my Management and Personal Skills Courses at AmrBadran.com and feel free contacting me at Amr@AmrBadran.com
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