Essential Leadership Skills Part 3: Getting Buy-In and Support

If you are going to achieve anything as a leader or manager of a team, you have to win support and get the buy-in of others. Again at a theoretical level most people get this.

Yet getting the buy in and support of others is a whole lot harder than you might think. In teams what you are looking for is a lot of collaboration. Most team members are more familiar with competing than collaborating.

The Big Mistake

In many ways a team follows the pattern of a bell curve. At the tails there are those that either get straight on board and those who are more likely to resist or even try to block progress.

What I have noticed is that many leaders spend a disproportionate of time trying to influencer the resisters. However, if you want to get the buy-in of others on a team to what you are trying to achieve, you have to focus on the critical mass.

These are the 80-90% who you need to influence if you are going to achieve results through teams.

What Helps Get People To Support You As The Team Leader?


If I contrast my time working in the private and public sector, it is clear why it is much harder in the public sector to get buy in of others. Imposing rather than involving is one of the key reasons.

Team members understand that they cannot have everything their own way. At the same time they want to be involved in major decisions and discussions and have the opportunity to contribute.

Don’t Pretend You Have All The Answers

It is really easy to feel that you need to have the answers to everything. The good news is you don’t. Often it is personal egos that results in leaders or managers of teams trying to have a finger in every pie.

The most important thing is to make sure that you bring people on to teams that offer different experience or expertise to you and that is complimentary.

Support People

If people take the initiative and take action, there will be times when things don’t work out. If you seek to blame or find scapegoats when this happens you will always struggle to get people on board.

If on the other hand you support people, help them to reflect and learn from mistakes, you will encourage them to be proactive.

Building Trust

Trust on teams does not happen by chance. It all starts with the leader. You have to show trust in others before they will trust you.

Trust arises as a result of the behaviours and approach that you adopt. It will always be work in progress as it is one of those areas where it takes time to build trust but can be destroyed in minutes.


Communication is vital on teams. There needs to be an open dialogue between team members, including the leader.

Additionally it is vital that the team leader and team members listen to each other. The challenge is that most are taught to write and speak but few are taught how to listen effectively.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals transition to leadership roles effectively.