Influencing Your Team: 10 Leadership Traits that Drive the Ability to Influence Teams


By Dr. Michael J. Zappa

All leaders will openly admit that they could not do their job without their team. However, as humans, I’d bet that most of them, in a moment of frustration, have thought “it would be easier if I just did it myself.” Why? Because influencing people is a gradual process, not simply a decision with immediate results.

Accepting the reality that no matter how brilliant or hard-working you are, you will always need your team which means you need to learn how to influence them.

Master the following attributes and you will be well on your way.

10 Leadership Traits that Drive the Ability to Influence Teams

  1. Grateful Attitude - As a leader you are always on stage and therefore need to possess and portray a grateful attitude. Start your day with a ritual that grounds you; whether this is prayer, meditation, exercises, reflecting on loved ones, etc. When your day gets tough, reflect on, or re-enact your gratitude ritual.

  2. Conscious Happiness - Look for the silver lining on a cloudy day and spread happiness even in the most challenging situations. An easy way to do this is by connecting with those that inspire you, whether by reading, testing, calling, or observing. I guarantee your happiness will be contagious.

  3. Smile Naturally - This is so simple and it’s free. The old adage: “fake it, until you make it” applies here; just smile. Aside from making you a better leader, it’s healthy for you - it releases endorphins.

  4. Always Proper - As mentioned above, leaders are always on stage, so manners are an absolute necessity. The simple “please” and “thank you” show that you care.

  5. Gossip Intolerant - Never spread gossip and promote a zero tolerance policy. Overhearing a leader in a non-professional conversation destroys their sphere of influence.

  6. Inclusive - Create a broad group of advisors. Include the unpopular person; even if he/she has the reputation for weird or crazy ideas…this time it might just be the missing link. Such an approach gives you great credibility among the team.

  7. Diplomatic - Leaders must be professional and ever diplomatic. They must never let their buttons be pushed. Any personal pain, imitation, or frustration must not be shown at the workplace.

  8. Tireless - The most influential leaders have an abundance of energy, a sharp focus, and relentless dedication to the mission and their team.

  9. Honest - Trust is earned over time, but can be lost in a moment. Always be transparent and honest. Frequent communication is always important, even if nothing dramatic has occurred. Human nature is suspicious of voids in communication.

  10. Culturally Respectful - Incorporating the best of diverse cultures and celebrating individual difference adds to a leader’s ability to influence his/her team.