Influence and Leadership Fundamentals

Leadership is built on a fundamental skill-set of subtle influence. It involves construction of relationships in which you speak and listen in a considered way, and use an attitude regarding working with other people that is thoughtful and strategic.

Dr Milton Erickson completed comprehensive research on the basic attributes required for effective influence within organisations. His work is known as LETS (Leadership Enhancement Team Style).

Firstly, the study discusses the power of non-verbal behaviour. Mehrabian (1971) conducted research on trust and respect between people by analysing verbal and non-verbal behaviour. He found that when these two behaviours were congruent in an individual communicating, the person was trusted or perceived as genuine. Alternatively, when the two behaviours were incongruent, the person was distrusted. Furthermore, when presented with mismatched verbal and non-verbal behaviours, the receiving individual will alway respond to the message contained in the non-verbal communication. Mehrabian’s research further showed that 93% of all communication is non-verbal. His work indicated that body language (the way we look, facial expressions and gestures) constitutes 55% of the message, voice tone contributes to 38%, and the words themselves only convey 7% of the message. Matching is also uncovered as another non-verbal element crucial to effective communication and influence. Matching is the process of utilising self-awareness and acute observation to match the mood, manner and culture of the other person in order to maximise influence and understanding. These findings illustrate the importance of non-verbal elements on management skills and supportive communication with employees.

The LETS leadership styles below makes use of this research in both a conscious and strategic manner. The hidden element of management ability is the capacity to communicate in such a way that others are influenced to achieve their tasks and goals. The LETS leadership model is based on these processes of verbal and non-verbal communication and enhancing trust through matching language and style.

LETS Team Leadership Styles

There are four fundamental team leadership styles. Planner, Analyser, Developer and Creator.

Planners approach team projects by scheduling, planning, designing timelines and managing resources. They supervise and oversee tasks and people to achieve goals. they are detail-oriented and like organising people and tasks.

Creators jump straight into creative problem solving within any new project or task. They display a passion and energy that can be either inspiring or confronting. They are less concerned abut facts and more focused on innovation, discovery and feelings.

Analysers are evidence based and examine rules and regulations. Team member relations are of less significance to them, they instead strive for quality within projects.

Developers tend to take on a project and develop it into something bigger than what was originally conceived. They are people-focused ensuring team cohesion while completing projects. They tend to be maintainers and finishers.

You may display one dominant team style type, or be a combination of two. Planners and analysers are naturally similar in style, while creators and developers are also similar.

When working with a leader that has a different LETS team leadership style than yourself, it is important to match your behaviour to ensure maximised communication and understanding.

When working with a planner:

  • offer them a plan or a structure to the task
  • organise your ideas into some order
  • ask them to shape your ideas more logically

When working with a creator:

  • let yourself have some fun with the project
  • be a little disorganised and haphazard to increase creativity
  • be more enthusiastic

When working with an analyser:

  • be precise and clear
  • pay attention to rules and expectations
  • treat the conversation seriously

When working with a developer:

  • take the time to go through the points a few times
  • ask for their thoughts on how your ideas could be improved
  • be aware of their feelings and creating good relationships

From the above model, you can begin to appreciate your own contribution to your team’s dynamics and function, and also understand your colleagues’ varied qualities.

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