Downward leader’s influence is the ability to persuade lower team members in an organization to act in a particular way and achieve a planned result. Influence strategies used to manage downward includes: ingratiation, personal appeal, pressure, exchange assertiveness, coalition, legitimate pressure, etc. Of all these factors, the ability to provide inspiring vision is the most important strategy for downward leadership. An inspiring vision is one that is clear, directional, goal oriented and has a role for each person to fit in and add value to the organisation. The leader can achieve this in the following 13 ways:
1) Intellectual stimulation: Leaders can influence lower team members by stimulating their intellect to generate ideas, through encouragement to think of something that is not ethically or strictly prohibited by law but could serve as a solution. When individuals know that idea generation is important, they are more likely to show this behaviour.
2) Stimulating knowledge diffusion: Where leaders encourage stimulating knowledge diffusion through the dissemination of information among subordinates, it enhances idea generation.
3) Providing vision: When leaders provide lower team members with a sense of direction and overarching goals as well as some general guidelines, it enhances both idea generation and application behaviour for various reasons.
4) Consulting: Whenever something new is being implemented, leaders should consult those who must adopt it to influence decision-making.
5) Delegating: Through delegation, leaders allow subordinates to exercise freedom and autonomy for various tasks. This results in innovative behaviour on the part of employees
6) Support for innovation: Leaders assistance for team innovative actions could help them experience support, which is believed to be helpful in creating and generating ideas.
7) Organizing feedback: Leaders can provide feedback themselves but may also ask others (e.g. subordinates) to take on this role. Feedback can be arranged and promoted when team members are allowed to present an initial concept or idea to a group of customers, who are asked to provide feedback.
8) Recognition: What a leader does to a subordinate’s initiative will determine whether they will come up with more initiatives in the future. Recognition includes giving praise (compliments), awards (e.g. certificates of achievement, private budgets, increased autonomy) and ceremonies (e.g. public speeches and celebrations).
9) Rewards: Several published research results have shown that financial rewards are helpful to focus employees’ efforts when trying to implement new services or work processes. Although financial rewards are a trigger for idea generation, it does not improve work involvement. Rather, leaders should use intrinsic motivation as a better strategy to trigger non-routine behaviours than extrinsic rewards.
10) Providing resources: Leaders, as soon as a decision to implement a promising idea is made, should provide the necessary time and money to subordinates. Being enthusiastic about an idea is one thing, but your employees will not believe you if you do not come up with the resources to develop it.
11) Monitoring: Leaders must devise a way of being informed about how things are going. When resources have been deployed, monitoring tools to ensure money is not being thrown away should be in place. In doing this, the leaders’ supervision must not become too strict or else the employees will feel they are constantly being watched
12) Task assignment: Leaders should ensure task content matches job incumbents’ skills, abilities and preferences. It is essential that people like their job. If they enjoy doing their work, they are more interested in delivering high quality. Then they are more eager to make suggestions for improvements as well.
13) Contingencies: Leaders should encourage frequent contact with employees from other firms as it is helpful for them to imbibe good practices.