Monday, December 9, 2013

Getting Your Way: Personal Style and Influence

In 2009 and 2010 Discovery Learning, Inc. and Innovative Pathways conducted research to identify and measure influence preferences. This research clearly identified five influence styles and resulted in an assessment tool, Influence Style Indicator (ISI), which effectively and efficiently measures an individual’s preferred influence style or styles. The complete Influence Style Indicator Research and Development Report is available for download from Discovery Learning, Inc.  Since 2010, considerable data has been collected using ISI that allows us to identify and better understand how influencing preferences are impacted by variables such as gender, nationality, and personality preferences. These will be discussed in future posts.

Introduction to Influence 

To influence effectively you must be adept at getting your opinions and ideas heard, recognized and considered by others. Influence inherently means that you are able to impact the ideas, opinions and actions of others. Influence strategies can range from reliance on position and power to education, encouragement and collaboration. When you influence effectively, you increase trust, support, and ownership for your priorities. When you influence ineffectively you increase mistrust, intimidation, and resentment. A key behavior of effective leaders is the capacity to influence those around them towards acceptance of beneficial outcomes. From the perspective of the Influence Style Indicator, we are defining influence as the interpersonal behaviors that we use to have a positive impact on another party’s choices.

Why Influence Matters 

Today’s workplace is characterized by levels of change and complexity that are unprecedented. Workplace realities such as identifying shared goals, leading complex and often dispersed teams, boundary spanning, coordinating matrixed projects and integrating diverse people and interests require the capacity to influence others. Good leadership involves leadership that has a positive and unifying impact. Whether you are leading, following, and/or collaborating, chances are you need to influence others to be successful. The ability to influence effectively is emerging as a key leadership skill for a new generation of leaders.

Have you ever been aware of someone’s influence style making an impact, positively or negatively, in a decision or direction your organization as making? Please share your comments below and contact us at Discovery Learning, Inc. for more information about Influence Style Indicator and how it might benefit your group or team.


2011 Musselwhite, W. C., Penny, J. & Plouffe, T.  Influence Style Indicator Research & Development Report.  Discovery Learning Press,  Greensboro, NC.

2011 Musselwhite, W.C. & Plouffe, T.  Influence Style Indicator Style Guide.  Discovery Learning Press, Greensboro, NC.

This post was adapted from a white paper by Chris Musselwhite, EdD, president and CEO of Discovery Learning, Inc.

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