You are just starting your position as a manager and you’re working to rally your team for a new project. But your title alone isn’t enough to inspire people to provide great results for someone they don’t know. You need to develop your ability to get people excited and committed to an idea or project.
The ability to effectively influence others is a critical leadership skill. What makes someone an effective influencer? He or she understands what is important to others on a personal and professional level while taking into account the values and beliefs of these people.
Use these tips and guidelines to influence others in the workplace and enhance your ability to gain the commitment of others.
5 Strategies for Influencing Others in the Workplace
Influence Others from Their Point of View
You influence others from their point of view, not your own. Whether you’re using data-based reasoning or inspirational stories, or you’re talking about the benefits and what’s in it for them, the key is to take their perspective into consideration. The more you know about them — their goals, values, objectives — the better you can align your proposal or your recommendation with what’s important to them.
The more you can target your proposal to the specific needs, values, and benefits that resonate with the other person, the more effective you’ll be.
Do not limit yourself to one influencing technique. Many leaders rely too heavily on one form of influence, usually whichever one comes most naturally to them. By adapting their influencing style to reflect the audience and the situation, leaders can be much more persuasive in their influencing efforts. They must be able to assess the situation, understand which approach would be most effective, and apply the right influencing style.
For example, many people rely too heavily on reasoning- the use of logical arguments and facts to influence others. Reasoning is the most frequently used influence technique and it can be effective in many situations. But sometimes leaders would benefit from adapting their style to reflect the audience and situation. They must be able to assess the situation, understand what approach would be most effective and apply the right influencing style.
- Reasoning: Uses logical arguments and factual evidence to explain why a task is necessary.
- Inspiring: Appeals to a person’s values and ideals to create enthusiasm around a proposal.
- Consulting: Collects input and suggestions to improve the quality of a proposal and increase ownership.
- Collaborating: Reduces the difficulty of compliance by offering to provide relevant resources or assistance.
Lay the Foundation for Influence in Advance
Influencing is not a single-point event. It’s a long-cycle interaction. If you wait for the point in time where you need to influence someone to start to establish your credibility and build a relationship, you’re a little late.
This means that in all your interactions you need to demonstrate your expertise and establish a positive track record. You also need to build positive work relationships and establish trust. A large component of influence is the nature of your relationship and the extent to which people see you as a trusted adviser—and that is not something you can establish in a short timeframe.
Accountability is vital for team success, especially in situations where a team is geographically distributed or comprised of members from different departments. In situations where decision-making authority is not clear, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is taking responsibility for their own tasks and is aware of how their work fits into the larger goals of the team. By stressing accountability throughout a team, people are more likely to see themselves as part of a greater whole, which makes them more receptive to changing needs. Influencing others is much effective when team members are already committed to doing their part to ensure the team’s success.
Make it a Two Way Conversation
Active listening is a fundamental part of communication and influencing is about having a conversation. It’s about a dialogue, not making a proposal or recommendation and expecting someone to automatically adopt it. So use paraphrasing, empathizing, questioning and a balanced response as part of your influence attempt.
To help you enhance the ability of leaders, managers, and team members to gain the support of people over whom them may not have direct authority, OnPoint Consulting offers easy-to-apply resources that help to build the skills needed to work across organizational boundaries.