Knowing how to encourage employee buy-in is a key leadership skill. Getting employees’ buy-in — to organizational values, new initiatives, or even daily assignments — is critical to productivity and team success. Leadership training is an invaluable way to learn the skills necessary to get your team “on board” with key organizational priorities.
While telling stories at work may, at first, seem like a waste of time, in fact, storytelling is a very effective way to influence employees and create a sense of buy-in. From listening to stories as a child, or reading a book, or watching a movie, we all know the power of a story to create emotional impact, teach us a lesson, or change our minds. As leaders, we can tap into that same power of stories to effect change at work.
It’s important to choose the right story to support your idea, and then deliver it in a compelling way. When choosing a story to help “sell” your point, you should try to keep it brief, use emotion or humor to engage the audience, set the scene with atmospheric details, and make sure to tie your story back to your main point.
This takes some practice, and a leadership training video on storytelling can greatly aid in learning how to choose, craft and deliver a story to create employee buy-in. Tell Me a Story: A Powerful Way to Inspire Action reminds leaders that stories capture people’s hearts and minds, and teaches four steps to developing and telling stories to inspire action in others.
Getting employee buy-in for a project or initiative can also be accomplished by asking employees questions to get them involved in the decision-making or planning process. When leaders take the time to involve employees in making a decision, or planning how it will be implemented, this automatically builds trust. Asking employees a series of questions can further build their commitment to the goal. For example, “Where are we already experiencing success?” or “What has worked in similar situations in the past?” both start the conversation on a positive note, enabling the group to discuss what’s going right, and building everyone’s cooperation, energy, and creativity.
After discussing some group successes and how they achieved those successes, move on to questions about what the group thinks their objectives should be moving forward. After you’ve asked their input on what the goal is, or how you’ll measure success, make sure to ask questions that help employees verbalize the benefits of achieving the goal — to the customers, the organization as a whole, the team, and them, personally. “What do you think will be the benefit to the organization of reaching [XYZ] goal? How will our team benefit? What’s the benefit to YOU of achieving this goal?” This step allows you to focus attention on the objectives and benefits at all levels, so all team members have an understanding of what is truly important. By starting with more global benefits and working towards a discussion of more personal benefits, it eliminates the discomfort team members often have about discussing the benefits they might want to gain for themselves.
All these questions help employees feel more involved, engaged and empowered – thus driving a sense of buy-in into whatever objective or project is being discussed.
To develop leadership skills for asking questions to create buy-in and successful outcomes, use 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask. This leadership training program introduces a proven process called The Framework for Leadership™, consisting of 5 questions, which, when asked in a specific order, enable leaders and project managers to engage their team in finding and implementing effective solutions.