Leading is concerned with the big picture and getting others to follow, rather than the authoritarian method of telling them what they must do. The new workforce wants supervisors who are willing to lead, not just manage. Today, leaders must clearly communicate a shared vision and keep their goals and priorities aligned with those of the organization. The effective use of influence is an important tool to allow you to share your vision and align goals.
The most effective leaders seek to “influence” or use their power in constructive ways. Influencing others means expressing one’s intention to persuade, convince, or impress others in order to gain their support. An individual’s desire for influence can be broad or narrow.
Let’s review six (6) Influencing styles, but combinations are be used in actual situations.
Building Support is a style that uses networks and coalitions to enlist the support of others to build acceptance of ideas. This includes finding out who is most likely to influence a decision and working behind the scenes to build support.
This style is most effective when it is necessary to in influence a number of people from different departments and when there are key people in the organization who can influence a decision favorably or unfavorably.
This style is least effective when those you seek to influence are outside your organization or when the decision is to be made on the basis of objective criteria such as cost or when those you want to influence are not concerned with the reaction of others.
Appealing to Shared Values involves showing others how your idea is important to the broader goals of the organization. The key to this style is being able to identify common ground shared by you and those you are seeking to influence.
This style is most effective when you can identify a common goal and there is agreement on shared values, strategy or vision or if your personal credibility is high and others trust you.
This style is least effective when the organization’s goals and values are about to change in unpredictable ways, you lack credibility and the people you are trying to influence are cynical about the organization.
Involving Others seeks to gain the support of others through involvement, a willingness to adapt ideas to meet the needs of others, or an acceptance of the suggestions of others. This style looks for win-win solutions.
It is most effective when people whose support you need have a high level of knowledge or expertise and maintaining positive relationships is important. This is also effective when you need to have high levels of acceptance and commitment and others must show exercise their own initiative.
This style is least effective when decisions must be made quickly, a crisis exists, and people are not empowered. If there is disagreement about the goal, desired result, or agenda, this style is inappropriate.
Motivation is a style that attempts to understand the needs and concerns that motivate others. This includes determining the most effective way to get an idea across and anticipating how a proposal will be received.
This style is most effective in one-on-one situations where you need to build support and trust in order to be able to influence, there are underlying tensions and you do not know the other people very well.
This style is least effective when your attempt to understand others is regarded as insincere or manipulative. When the decision will be based on objective criteria such as cost or you know it will not be possible to meet the concerns of others, this style may not be adequate or appropriate.
Making Positive Assertions and stating your requests, needs, or requirements is also a distinct style. This style includes clearly expressing your expectations and standards.
It works best when there is an emergency or a crisis, when dealing with people who are less knowledgeable or experienced than you are or when there are performance problems and short-term compliance is required. When there is confusion about what is required or what the consequences will be of not doing what is needed, this style is quite effective.
It is least effective when others need to understand or agree with the reasons for your action, decision, or when it is important to listen to all points of view before deciding on a course of action. If you need long-term support and high levels of acceptance, this may not be the most appropriate style.
Using Reason or Logic relies on facts to persuade, influence and convince others. This includes offering reasons to support views, pointing out comparative advantages and disadvantages of other approaches, and preparing well-planned arguments to support ideas.
This style is most effective when dealing with people who rely principally on logic and reason in making decisions or when the other people are systematically comparing several alternatives and if there are clear, compelling reasons for pursuing a course of action. If personal, subjective preferences are being expressed and there is a need to make an objective, fact-based decision, try this style.
However, this style is least effective when those who support you are strongly influenced by personal relationships, or strong personal feelings are expressed. If the people you are trying to influence are very concerned with personal goals, hopes, and concerns, or there are disagreements about facts, this style may not be very effective.
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