Much has been written over the years, even by me, about how to influence another person…
After examining a few bucket-loads of literature, asking lots of questions, observing behaviours, and personally checking it out in practice, there is no doubt in my mind that the sure-fire way to influencing someone is to—here it is—be committed to their success!
When I say “influence”, I don’t actually mean a self-centered manipulation that results in you getting what you want and the other party being screwed. I mean a positive interaction that, before, during and after, has you holding your head high.
If you have more than a shred of the “I need to get them to listen to me and buy my ideas” thinking, you’ll need to lose it.
Check It Out For Yourself—Collect Some Empirical Evidence
Let’s have the rubber hit the road…
Think of a case-in-point that’s real-life for you, and then follow these recommended steps:
- First, be sure that you’re clear on your outcome—what you want.
Let’s say you want to have a member of Sam’s team transfer into your team.
- Next, jump into your counterpart’s shoes. Strive to understand their position. Ask yourself what it’s like in their world right now, what they care about, what pressures they could currently be experiencing. The more you can get into Sam’s shoes, the more effectively you’ll influence him.Initially, think generally—How is it in Sam’s world? How is his workload? What’s on track for him? What challenges might he be facing? Hypothesise how concerning those challenges could be for him?And then, regarding the team member you want transferred into your team, what’s in it for Sam to endorse the transfer? What else could motivate him? And what costs might he incur if the person transfers into your team? What else could discourage him?
- Stand back and carefully consider what success with this issue would look like for your counterpart. Authentically care about what they care about—still leaving your own agenda at the door. Think, “If I were Sam, what would I want?” What would an ideal scenario look like for him?Forget your logical reasoning, forget your sensible arguments—unless you can present Sam with a proposal that’s going to delight him I suggest that you consider going back to the drawing board until you’ve got a big enough reason for Sam to be delighted with your proposal.
Are You Up For Putting This Hefty Emphasis On What The Other Person Wants?
The bottom-line is this: The less you focus on what you’ll get the more you’ll get!
You will need to back off from pushing your case—but that will mean your counterpart will be oh-so receptive to having the conversation and you’ll be massively more persuasive. And by the way, if you’re anything like me, it’ll feel good too.
Added to those rewards is the bonus that, in subsequent conversations with your counterpart, you’ll inherently be more influential with them because:
- You’ve lifted the trust that they have in you, and
- You’ve enhanced your relationship with them.
I hope you’re convinced by now that even slightly exploiting your counterpart is not the answer. You’re highly likely to feel second-rate if your approach is superficial and at all manipulative!
Your Leadership Call To Action
Well, are you up for adopting this collaborative stance?
Expect that whenever you do a seriously good job of understanding your counterpart’s position you’ll be thrilled with how influential you’ve become.
And, naturally, your other party will be thrilled too!
Please let me know if you’d benefit from coaching support that’ll reshape you into being a compelling influencer.
P.S. Here’s what one of the leaders I have coached said…
“Carolyn possesses an amazing range of skills and expertise to provide insights in a confidential and highly supportive environment. Ultimately this promotes learning, personal growth and building confidence and leadership capability. This has important flow-on effects not only for team members but for the organisation as a whole.”
Deputy CEO, Beyond Blue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.