When you are a leader, you are also a salesperson. Moving people–getting them to go in the direction you wish for them to go–is sort of the name of the game. You can’t very well call yourself a leader if people aren’t following you, can you? The ability to persuade people, influence their decisions, and get them on board with your way of thinking is absolutely essential if you want to achieve success as a leader.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be manipulative. Admittedly, the idea of “getting what you want out of people” can easily be construed as a gimmick. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The best leaders are those who are genuine, enticing people to support them through their authentic and natural behaviors. The question is, what behaviors should you seek to develop in yourself if you want to draw people to you and make them want to listen to what you have to say. Well, there surely are many such behaviors, but I would like to discuss just one in this article.
I once read about a study in which students of a University were recruited to critique a fictional student’s job application. The researcher sent out a cover letter to 70 students who had agreed to give feedback for someone who they believed to be one of their peers. After receiving the feedback, the researcher then sent another email to the same students, asking for help on another cover letter.
This time, however, part of the group received a slightly different email. The first of the group was sent an email asking for feedback on another cover letter. The second half of the group was sent the very same email–with only one small difference. Before asking for help the second time, the researcher wrote, “Thank you for your help.” That’s it–a simple thank you before the second request. So, did it make a difference?
Absolutely! Only 23% of the group that had not been thanked agreed to provide feedback for the second time. However, of the group that received a simple ‘thank you’ prior to the second request, 66% were willing to help out again. That’s almost triple the results! What a difference a simple communication of gratitude can make!
In the mortgage industry, you as a leader are in the business of swaying people–of getting them to help you. You’re trying to enlist the help of your employees, your suppliers, your customers, and your community. Sure, you can get that help with incentives. You can give raises, offer discounts, invest in a little public relations. But there is also a simpler and, many times, more effective way–gratitude.
On a day-to-day basis, how often do you tell people how much their contribution means to you? How generous are you with your compliments? How much appreciation do you express to those with whom you interact? These are good questions to ask yourself if you want to be a great leader. So get up right now and go thank someone for what they’ve done for you. You may just be blown away by the result…
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