The modern workplace is more about influence and less about hierarchy
It’s about making connections with people. And you make connections with people by showing them that you are genuinely interested in their goals, ideas, concerns and opinions.
The modern business model is based upon building partnerships – with customers, staff, suppliers and the community. There are so many different types of relationships that you need to build and maintain, that you simply can’t afford to become complacent and expect that your position title will grant you automatic respect and acquiescence from others.
This is an era where anyone in a management role is now expected to be more of a leader. They don’t dictate to others – they go out and seek to engage and enlist willing, motivated supporters.
And even if you’re not in a management role, you’re still wanting to make a difference. And this often requires you to win the support of colleagues and senior management when you see an opportunity to improve a process or initiate a new project.
Five quick tips that can help you influence with greater impact
- Select a time and place that is conducive to influence – usually one in which the other party is relaxed, not feeling pressured nor distracted. Many a good idea has failed to gain support because it was pitched at the wrong time.
- Speak in the language of the other party – in a way that they can readily relate to. To the company accountant we focus on the financial related benefits and with the HR person we focus on the benefits to staff well-being.
- When you are trying to persuade another, avoid the trap of making a lot of points and trying to overwhelm the other person with as many reasons as possible why they should agree. Studies on influence has shown that persuasion will be more effective when it is based upon a few strong quality points – in particular, that are of relevance to the agenda of the other party
- Do not fear resistance and objections from the other party. By flushing out the concerns and reservations of the other party, you can more readily address their misgivings.
- Know when to “call it a day” and recognise that you’re not getting anywhere. You might then wait for a more opportune time to seek to influence the other party at a later date. Maybe you just caught them at a bad time, they had other things on their mind and weren’t in the right mental space to consider your message ……. Or alternatively, perhaps enlist an ally. Another person, an intermediary, who may possibly have a better connection with your influence target and may be better placed to advance your cause.