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- Berni Hollinger
Understanding Your Influence
- Berni Hollinger
- 2 March 2016
Recently, I was doing some training on the influence we exert over others. The program was designed for a group that was training new employees coming into the organization. This particular training was focused on helping them understand the influence they had on not only the new employees they were training, but also the influence they had over others in their department
It made me think about the power and influence a manager wields over their department and the differences of each. Position in an organization and the power it gives aren’t always enough to motivate people to do what we ask. As a result, there is far more riding on our ability to influence others and win commitment from direct reports, peers and bosses.
Influence is defined by Merriam Webster as:
a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way
Have you ever thought about how you influence others- how you change minds, shape opinions, move others to act? The tactics you use? We are all aware that people use different influencing tactics, but did you realize that we each naturally default to the same tactics every time? Or that the tactics we default to are also the ones to which we are most receptive when being influenced?
For the most part, good leaders do this unconsciously. They know that the ability to influence others is one of the most important skills they can wield to lead, solve problems and motivate others.
The ability to influence is one of the essential skills for leaders at all levels. It’s more art than science, and it can be tough to get your arms around. But the bottom line is that influence matters.
First, you should understand the types of influencing styles. I’ve listed them below for you.
- Asserting: a challenging personality, you insist that your ideas are heard and you challenge the ideas of others
- Convincing: a logical person, using persuasion to convince others of your viewpoint.
- Negotiating: someone who searches for compromises and seeks a result that gives a better outcome and is happy to use trade-offs to get there.
- Bridging: a relationship builder, making partnerships to achieve desired outcomes.
- Inspiring: encouraging, communicates a shared purpose to ensure the group feels good about the outcomes and shares purpose and exciting possibilities.
Now that you know your style, what do you do with it?
Know your audience and the situation you will be entering. Adapt to the situation accordingly. Each of these styles can be effective, depending upon the situation and people involved. A common mistake is to use a one-size-fits-all approach. Remember that influencing is highly situational. Using only your preferred style has the potential to limit your results with the other four or five people and their styles of influence.
If your individual success depends on gaining the cooperation of people over whom you have no direct authority, this should concern you. The way to begin to increase your odds of influencing more people is to learn to recognize and use each of the five styles.
Start by learning the other styles and see which situation works best for each. Are you leading a team, negotiating a contract, setting policy? Each of these situations calls for different methods of influence.
Expand your abilities and learn how you can use styles not your own to get what you need to get the job done and move ahead.
Berni Hollinger helps companies solve problems through patterns. As a Professional Quilter and CFO / Controller, she sees things differently. As a highly experienced CFO, Controller, Accountant, and Financial Consultant, she has led financial departments for Fortune 100 companies increasing bottom line growth and compassionately leading and training employees and restructuring processes to maximize profitability in the publishing, printing, subscriptions / fulfillment, manufacturing and transportation sectors. She is a Professional Quilter, and Quilting Instructor, creating lasting memories through exclusive designs of one-of-a-kind memory quilts.