Improving Team Engagement and Buy-In: It's not about your Position or Message
As a leader, have you ever gotten to the point where you've said to yourself "My team is no longer engaged" or maybe as an individual contributor you can't get others to do their part, or listen to your ideas.
We want people to listen to and act on our ideas, messages, instructions and initiatives. But before that can happen effectively, they need to buy-in into us.
People buy into the leader then the vision
People buy into the company, then the product
Others have to buy into you first. No matter how smart or talented you are, no matter how great your idea is, people will not likely buy into what you have to offer till they buy into you.
In some cases, they may listen or take action because of your position but to keep them engaged in the long run, they have to buy into you.
You are the message: most people will buy whatever Oprah endorses because they have bought into her.
People buy what their friends recommend because they've bought into that friend.
You cannot separate yourself from your idea or message. Ever wonder why the masses boycott companies when the CEO messes up even though they love the product or service? Have you ever turned a deaf ear to a boss or co-worker because of who they are and not necessarily because you don't agree with what they have to say? It's a person issue. So how do you get people to buy into you?
1. Build a good relationship with them. Let them know you. Let them know you care. Remember that it's not a relationship with your idea, message or request. It's a relationship with you.
2. Build Credibility. Do what you say you will do. Be a person of integrity. Is your message consistent with your action? Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Do people trust you?
3. Have a Good History and Be consistent. This means you need to have a good track record. People will not buy into you if they see a shady and inconsistent past. Do you lack focus? if your answer is yes, others will realize that they can't depend on you. You keep changing things, you're not available all the time, you always start that meeting late, your product is not always available, it's not always the same quality, you deliver late....soon enough you turn others off. As a leader, is your story always changing? Are you inconsistent? It will be hard to get buy in if that is the case.
4. Make your idea, message or request about others and not about you. Focus on your others and not on yourself. What is the benefit of your message or request to the other person? What is the why behind the message. People respond to a sense of purpose. Why should they care? Make your request about why. Make it about them. When it is about "laying down the rules", or "I'm the boss", or "because I said so", you will lose people real quick.
....and Give it time. It takes time to get buy in. So do all four consistently and in no time you will start getting buy in from others In conclusion:
People believe that if the product, idea or vision is good enough people will automatically buy into it. But that's not how it works. Think of practical ways you can apply these points in your career and personal life and see what difference it can make.