Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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September 2004
10 Qualities Essential for Leading from Influence

At the start I would like to say a warm WELCOME to all the new subscribers to my Newsletter this month. I am delighted to have you as "part of the family." In this month's Newsletter we will look at the qualities essential for developing influence with people.  Whether you work in health care, for the government, or in private industry, it is essential that you know how to influence others if you want to make an impact in the work you do. Here, then, are the 10 qualities essential for leading from influence:

  1. Honest, trustworthy
  2. Good role model
  3. Caring towards others
  4. Committed to the work you do
  5. Good listener
  6. Hold people accountable
  7. Treat people with respect
  8. Give people encouragement and room to grow
  9. Positive, enthusiastic attitude
  10. Appreciate people for the work they do.

"The people's capacity to achieve is determined by their leader's ability to empower."

John C. Maxwell
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

In order for you to influence your people in the right direction and empower them to get there, they must trust you. Trust is the single most important criteria in the leader/employee relationship. Before people buy into the vision, they buy into the leader.

So the questions to ask yourself are "Do the people I lead see me as honest and trustworthy?"  "Do they believe I merit  their trust?"  You will merit the trust of the people you work with and the people you lead if you are willing to tell the truth, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it may be. Your employees will be able to take what you tell them as long as they believe you are telling the truth. People know when they are being lied to; they can sense it even before they can reason it out. As in any other relationship, when someone is lied to, trust is destroyed. Without belaboring the point, take the high road and tell the truth!

"Leadership means setting an example.  When you find yourself in a position of leadership, people follow your every move."

Lee Iacocca

Be a good role model. Role model the behaviors you want your staff to follow. If the company hours are 8 to 5, what time do you come in?  If the focus of your hospital is customer service, how do you treat customers? More importantly, how do you treat your staff? Your staff will treat your customers EXACTLY the way they are treated. Do you believe the work you do makes a difference?  Do you exemplify the values and the vision your company stands for? Your staff wants to look up to you; they want you to be a role model for them.  Are you letting them down because of your own ambivalence about your job and the company you work for?  I ask you these questions because business and health care leaders are going through a difficult time. With limited resources and the fear of losing one's own job, many leaders are making judgments coming from a self-protective agenda, that may not be in the best interests of the staff. This is the time to sit down and honestly reflect on your own situation and what changes you may need to make personally and/or professionally to make peace with yourself. It is not easy to come face-to-face with an impasse, but it is one of the most rewarding undertakings you will ever do for yourself.

Do you care for the people who work for you?  Are you genuinely concerned about their well-being?  Do you know the names of their spouses and of particular circumanstances they are going through that may affect their job performance?  We live in such an impersonal world. Computers have taken the personal touch out of work, and your willingness to put that personal touch back in with your staff will be very much appreciated. Many employees have told me they feel their managers don't care about them. Today employees feel that they are a commodity, to be disposed of at any time. Certainly this affects their level of commitment and loyalty to the company. Be the one who makes a difference in their lives and in their job performance.

I took some time out of my work schedule these past two weeks to turn on the TV and watch the Olympics. In particular, I love the gymnastics, the water events and the track and field. What struck me in all of these events was the commitment these athletes made to their sport and to being the best in their chosen sport. Periodically the sports commentator would talk about the sacrifices these young people have made to qualify for the Olympics and compete for the Gold and I was in awe. To have that strong of a work ethic at such a young age. You don't have to be an Olympian, however, your success in your job will be in direct proportion to the level of commitment you have to doing the best you can.  Funny how we teach what we need to learn ... I need to repeat this one to myself again and again.  I must admit my commitment wavers at times and I let life get the best of me. I then have to get back on track so that I can come from integrity when I motivate others.

Being a good listener is so important.  In personal relationships as well as professional ones. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but being willing and able to listen to your staff will go a long way in spotting potential problems before they get out of hand. If you have a good relationship with your employees, they will tell you "stuff."  Lots of times it is stuff you really don't want to hear.  But be glad they tell you because you are in a position to help them if they need help, and help the company if they can no longer do the job and you need to look for someone else. Sometimes it's as simple as a word of encouragement for a staff member who is disappointed at the job he/she did, and is looking for some reassurance. Just being there and being willing to listen is a very big help. You may be the only person who listened that day.  

If you want your staff to buy into your corporate vision, make them accountable.  As we discussed in earlier Newsletters and in the articles I have written on my website when people believe the work they do contributes to the bottom line, they will buy into the vision.  If you make them accountable for that work and its connection to the achievement of the vision, they will come through for you.  Another important fact:  when people buy into a vision that benefits the whole company, they disregard the personal agendas they came in with.  They become team members and work for the betterment of the team.

Today's employees want more than just "a good day's wage for a good day's work." They want to be treated with respect, i.e., they want to be asked for their opinions; they want to know that what they do is important and makes an impact on the company; they want some say-so in the work they are asked to perform; and they want to be appreciated and rewarded for the work they do.  Many of the younger generation of workers today come into the workplace more educated than their predecessors, and they have a sense of entitlement not seen before.  They believe YOU are lucky to have THEM on your team, and they do not have a problem telling you what they want and need.  You do not have to give in or be intimidated by these new workers, however, they will hold your feet to the fire if they feel you are treating them in a way that is demeaning or not respectful. They are a challenge to many managers, however, they are the people with the innovative ideas that can move your company forward and keep it on the competitive edge.

Give people encouragement and room to grow. One of the main reasons people leave organizations is that they feel they have no room to grow.  They have outgrown the job they were initially hired for and feel they have potential for a more challenging and/or rewarding position someplace else. You do not want to lose your good people. The people who work for you have a proven track record of loyalty and commitment. Help them out. Encourage them to grow and give them the room to do just that. If your employee tells you he/she has outgrown the job, or feels they are not the right fit in their present job function, help them find another position with the company. If what they need is encouragement, be there for them. Encourage them to be the best they can be, and if that necessitates your help or intervention, do it. It benefits your employee, it benefits you, and it benefits the company ... a win-win all the way around.

"You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow you everywhere if only out of curiosity."

Colin Powell

Be so enthusiastic about the work you do, that people will want to follow you ... even if it is only out of curiosity!  Enthusiasm is contagious. Have a positive, enthusiastic attitude. You will be surprised at how fast it catches on.  If you want positive, enthusiastic employees, role model that behavior for them.  Tackle your job with a positive, "can do" attitude, and that attitude will prevail throughout the team. I have found this to be true in my own business. There are times I am tired, fatigued from giving it all on the road, and I am in my office, but reluctant to tackle the work on my desk.  My assistant is a great help here.  She starts doing the work with such a positive, enthusiastic attitude, that before long I am feeling the same way.  She energizes me with her attitude and I am grateful to her for knowing when I need that extra positive push. 

Appreciate people for the work they do. Again, I need to hear this myself.  I have just told you what a great help my assistant is to me, and there are times I forget to tell her that. I am a reactive person, and when things go wrong, I react!  I am consciously working on thanking her when things go right!  Every company has its own particular way of showing appreciation to employees.  Make sure this is done on an on-going basis. It doesn't take much, but it goes a long way with your employees. You could have formal appreciation days, or just a simple "thank-you" post-it-note when appropriate.  If you, your department, or company has a unique way of showing appreciation to your staff that you would like to share with the readers of this Newsletter, please e-mail me at and I will share it. 

If you wish to pass this Newsletter along to a colleague who may find it of value, feel free to do so.  If that person would like to receive the Newsletter, e-mail me with the address, and I will put it on my database.  Have a wonderful month, and if you are returning from vacation, welcome back.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables at the same meeting...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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