Friday, April 11, 2014

How to Increase Your Influence in Five Steps

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. And as we continue to morph (at breakneck speed) into an interconnected, interdependent, increasingly global workplace, it will only become more important.

Here are five tips on increasing your influence:

1) Understand your influencing style. It all begins with self-awareness. What’s your dominant style? Do you assert, convince, negotiate, bridge or inspire? Do you tend to apply the same approach to every situation
and individual? Understanding your natural inclination is a good place to start. If you’re not sure, consider taking a quick assessment like the Influence Style Indicator.

2) Take stock of your situation. Who are the critical stakeholders you need to win over to achieve an objective or overcome an obstacle? What influencing style might be more effective as you interact with them? For example, if you’re dealing with a hard-nosed CFO, consider using a convincing approach, which is based in logic, data and expertise. If you’re in a crisis situation where people are relying on you to be decisive and fast on your feet, an asserting style may be more effective. If you’re working cross-functionally
and need to win the support of a peer, a bridging or negotiating style may be the way to go.

3) Identify your gaps. Once you understand your natural orientation and the appropriate styles to influence those around you, figure out where you’re on solid ground and where you need to shift gears and use a different approach to be more effective.

4) Develop. After identifying your gaps, find ways to develop in those areas. It might be a workshop, coach or internal role model who is particularly strong in the style you’re trying to develop. For an added bonus, find a learning partner – someone with whom you can role-play to gain confidence.

5) Practice. Begin with small steps – low-stakes situations where you can test out your new influencing approaches. Target a person or situation where you’d like to achieve a certain outcome, think through the influencing style that will work best in that situation, and give it a try. See what works and what doesn’t. As you build your capability and confidence, move on to higher stakes scenarios.

Read the original article in Forbes here.

1 comment:

  1. Chris, fabulously summarized. A priceless tool in almost any situation.


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