You can often feel caught in the middle between the team you lead and are responsible for, and the leadership team to which you are accountable.
Being able to influence above and below can be very challenging, yet it is a crucial skill that is essential in building a strong, reliable and effective leadership style.
You can listen to our Podcast on The Seesaw of Influence. Or review some easy to remember Essential Leadership tips below which you can begin experimenting with. If you want to develop your influencing skills further try the Coaching Approach where we give you some typical coaching questions you can use and adapt to your particular situation.
1. Understand the different types of power and authority. Everyone has a preference for their source of power; be it Personality, Expertise or Position. You will have met or know of people who use their source of power in a social context, those who use it morally and coercively.
2. Identify who is working with Push & Pull styles of influence. Pull is about motivating people, where Push is about moving people with logical reasoning or offering incentives.
3. Finding peoples’ “Reason Why?” What is their fundamental driver in their role, simply why do they come to work? Their reason might be very simple or infinitely complicated; its a great way of getting to know someone. Do you know yours?
Influencing others is one of the most important skills to develop as a successful leader. One of the best ways to help you become better at influencing others is to have a coaching conversation. This will also give you time and space to think about what it is you want to achieve through the medium of influence, develop strategies to help build your leadership potential.
Understanding influencing styles and preferences for power work above & below. Do you have a clear idea how the people in your sphere operate?
What’s the big picture? How expansive can you be when considering who you need to influence and why?
Consider your own “Reason Why?” Are you being truly honest about what is driving you and your motivations – work this out first
Value – How much are you adding? Is it adding value for you too? Is it either moral, productive or social?
Make clear distinctions when influencing down that allow people to challenge you back. Can you make your suggestions showing your reasoning and intent? And then ask: How do you see it? Have I missed anything?
If you are looking to influence someone in a difficult conversation, consider and acknowledge yours and/or others contributions to the problem first, then listen carefully to their response with interest!
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