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5 Ways Leaders Can Influence Others in the Workplace

Posted by Rick Lepsinger January 18, 2017

Influence letter tiles

You need to get a big proposal passed, and have spent weeks preparing your presentation, creating compelling visuals and practicing talking points. Would you be surprised to hear that your ability to present a well-rehearsed presentation has little effect on whether your proposal gets the stamp of approval?

The ability to effectively influence others is the most important factor that determines success. 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 support and commitment of others.

Influence Others from Their Point of View

You influence others from their point of view, not your own. Whether you’re using reasoning or inspiring, 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.

Be Flexible

Do not limit yourself to your preferred influencing tactic. Many people rely too heavily on reasoning — the use of logical arguments and facts to influence others. It’s the most frequently used tactic and it can be effective. But on occasion, the conditions that support the use of rational persuasion may not be in place. You must to be able to assess the situation, understand what approach would be most effective and apply the right style.

Lay the Foundation for Effective 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.

Do Not Overuse Reasoning

Providing facts and data to support your proposal is the most commonly used influencing behavior. If you are using reasoning, it’s critical to translate facts and features into benefits. Clarify what’s in it for the other person. To simply lay out the argument and list the supporting data is useful but not nearly as effective as translating that argument and data into a meaningful benefit for the other person.

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 support of people over whom them may not have direct authority, OnPoint offers Influencing With Impact. This program is designed to provide people with the skills needed to work across organizational boundaries.

Influencing in a Team

Topics: leadership skills, influencing, influencing skills, influencing others

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