You want to be seen, heard and recognised in a way that positions your potential. But you don’t have the level of influence you need. Nor the leadership voice you want. Sound familiar?
“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions” John Hancock.
Your pace of work requires fast decision making and great collaboration. Your ideas, without influence though, will go nowhere.
Sarah’s business case had legs and she began to marshal interest in her new project. She ran into roadblocks. Senior executives cancelled meetings with her; and her boss gave her another initiative to lead. She felt rejected and diminished. Sarah’s inability to gain early support led to her project’s failure.
Is the influence you perceive you have congruent with how others see you – across your direct team, peer group, and more senior leadership? Or are you more invisible than you think?
Leadership isn’t title or position – it’s the influence you have
Your ability to shape, shift, and change someone’s perceptions, attitudes, decisions and actions is critical if you want to lead change effectively, break down silo’s and be the leader who connects people in, in a meaningful and purposeful way.
You may be asking yourself: “Have I got what it takes?”; “How do I need to change?”
Influence is learned.
Here are six ways to learn how to increase your influence.
1. Build trust in relationships
Often times, influencing isn’t about the idea, or the logic or the tactics, it’s about the connections and the strength of relationships you have with others. Relationships are based on trust. Trustworthiness can’t be demanded, it must be earned.
What you say, how you say it, and how you follow-through on the commitments you make, are the vital indicators that people accumulate as they form their perceptions of you. Trustworthiness starts with you.
2. Speak up early
Don’t hold off saying what you want to say. Your self-integrity matters. Get over yourself (as hard as that might be) and have the conviction to back yourself and the value you bring to a conversation. Give your opinion and perspective, even if it’s different from everyone else’s thinking. The best solutions come from diverse thinking.
3. Ask great questions
You don’t need to have all the answers. The quality of your questions shows the quality of your thinking.
4. Watch your body language
You are always communicating – even when you’re not speaking. Your posture, facial expressions, and how you use your hands, for example, can support what you’re saying. Use your body to work for you, not against you.
5. Make it about us
Remember the common ground where there is shared purpose and alignment. Whether it’s the overarching vision, goals, or objectives, or something else. Bringing a conversation back to the big picture or the detail on what’s already been agreed on, is a good way to keep building momentum and a win win outcome.
6. Step into someone else’s shoes
The more you appreciate someone else’s world – what motivates them and drives their decision making – the more impactful you’ll be. Start from their point of view, not your own.
Bringing it all together
Your success relies on you working with and through others. The more senior your become, your leadership voice and brand relies on having influence. Building the right mindset and toolkit to shape your communication and behaviour to your audience is a must.
Where is your next level of influence?