Masterfully influencing others is THE most important skill in an executive’s repertoire.
Leadership is about getting others to follow your lead. You can’t lead without being a skilled influencer.
It’s your primary job to influence upwards, downwards, and sideways as well as externally to your organisation.
If you’re not totally confident in getting others to see things your way, It’s going to impact how you’re perceived by others and how successful you are in your role and in your career.
For example, you don’t want to miss the mark when…
You go to your Board or boss with a request which, when
fulfilled, will help take your business to new heights.
You’re attempting to get a team member’s buy-in to a
transformed approach which you’re certain, when
implemented, will bring about a metamorphosis with the
way projects meet quality and timeline goals.
Admirable, upwardly mobile executives have well-developed persuasive powers that serve them well, no matter how difficult the situation.
Three Common Habits That Potentially Detract You From Being Influential
There are numerous thinking styles and conversational habits that potentially impact your ability to get others to see things your way.
Three crucial habits that you need to eliminate are:
1. Avoiding dealing with the situation.
When you’re not confident that you’ll achieve your targeted outcome, it’s likely that you’ll sidestep even attempting to influence the other person.
You clearly won’t influence the other person if you avoid discussing the topic.
2. Telling, not asking.
Telling (i.e., stating what you want in an authoritative way) would be one of the least effective ways to attempt to influence.
It usually builds resistance. And if you’re going to persuade, you need receptivity, not resistance.
Of course, if the building’s on fire, telling will be just fine :).
Otherwise, begin the conversation by asking about the other person’s needs.
3. Stating your opinions as if they’re facts.
Countless leaders fall into this subtle trap. They say something like,
“We need to… ” or
“You should… ”
This is a whole lot different than saying…
“I think we need to… ” or
“My view is that it would be better if… ”.
In the first example, you’re stating your opinion as if it’s a fact. This is not good.
In the second example, you’re stating your opinion as an opinion. This is good.
When you state your opinion as if it’s a fact and the other person disagrees with your view, you’ll again create resistance and push-back from the other person, either in their conscious or their unconscious mind.
And when you want to influence someone, you need them to be receptive, not resistant.
Therefore, be alert to using words like “must,” “have to,” or “should.”
They’re frequently signs that opinions are being verbalised as facts and, in my opinion, they need to be eliminated at all costs :).
Continued in Carolyn Stevens’ book, “Stepping Into Your Power“.