More often than anything else in a coaching program a leader wants to deal with how to be more influential with others…
Well, when we think about it, influencing others is the most important part of a leader’s job isn’t it?
As a leader you’re constantly influencing a team member to work harder, slower, longer, shorter, or whatever. Or influencing upwards—maybe to have your boss approve a huge expense. Or influencing sideways—perhaps to get a peer’s buy-in to a strategy.
So what do you think are the critical bits, the important parts, which take a person from being an ordinary influencer to being a great influencer?
An Essential Practice That Great Influencers Have Mastered
An essential part of being a great influencer is for you to be really fussy about the way that you set the conversation up…
You need to truly understand the other person’s situation—the lay-of-the-land for them.
Think about someone you want to influence:
- How well can you see the world from their shoes?
- Do you truly understand how they think and feel about your topic?
- How well do you get their wants and needs around it?
Your Conversation Opener
When you’ve got a good grasp of their current perspective, I urge you to use it to open the conversation, for example:
“I understand that dealing with the Melbourne issue is important to you, and that you don’t want to put your focus on anything else, like the Brisbane situation, until that’s sorted. Is that correct?”
If you don’t have a good grasp of their current perspective, ask. For example:
“Before we talk about how we’ll approach the different regions, I want to be sure that I understand what’s critical to you. What are your wants and needs here?”
Understanding Does Not Equal Compliance
Just because you’ve discussed what’s important to the other person, don’t think for a minute that you need to comply with their wants and needs. Simply ensure that you truly do understand their perspective—and that they know that.
By the way, you’ll notice that when you’re perceived as genuinely caring about the other person’s wants and needs, oftentimes they’ll suddenly begin to care a lot more about yours.
Now that’s a nice side benefit, isn’t it?
Your Leadership Call to Action
Think about an upcoming conversation in which you want to influence someone to think about something differently or to do something differently…
How well do you currently understand their perspective, how they think and feel about your topic, their wants and needs around it?
Are you ready to open that conversation by describing what you think is the other person’s perspective?
Try it out—I’m certain that you’ll move closer to be a great influencer when you’ve habituated taking this simple and generous opening stance in your conversations.
As always, keep me posted on your thinking and on your successes—and let me know if you want my coaching support with this habituation process.
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.