Find Your Influence Style this Year
The ability to influence those around you is a key leadership skill. To influence effectively, you must be adept at getting your opinions and ideas heard, recognized and considered by others.
Use the new year as an opportunity to try a new approach to achieve different results when trying to influence those in either the dining room or the boardroom.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Steven Stein, CEO of Multi-Health Systems, influence styles can range from reliance on position and power to education, encouragement and collaboration.
Most people rely on pushing or advocating for a position, which can create a tension between parties, Stein said. It immediately draws a line in the sand between the two sides and leaves people feeling unheard and disrespected. Last year, you may have found yourself using these influence techniques:
Rationalizing, which is a fact-based approach, is using logical reasoning to convince others of your point of view. When used correctly, rationalizing moves discussion to a less emotional space. It works best when the people involved haven’t already made up their minds about a certain topic. Some people react negatively to this influence style, assuming you value your data more than their feelings.
Asserting involves enforcing your dominance through your position or experience to explain why people should believe you. You ask people to comply rather than agree with you. Others can perceive this as aggressive, self-serving and competitive. If they don’t respect your position, your assertion will fall flat.
The turn of a new year might be the time to change up your tactics. To change someone’s mind, you may want to try pulling people toward you and your point of view. If you’re starting on opposite sides of disagreement, find a way to unite the two groups by using these techniques:
Bridging entails building communities based on common, mutual interests. Establish trust by listening to what others have to say. Show you’re listening and then try to find something you agree upon. Finding somewhere small to start where you can agree might help you build toward a resolution.
Inspiring entails advocating for your position by encouraging others with a sense of shared purpose and exciting possibilities. Famous leaders, like Steve Jobs, are remembered for rallying their employees with passionate words and empowering people to share the same feelings.
This year, if you end up arguing with a relative about politics or a colleague about an aspect of your business, take a step back. After exhausting yourselves with facts and figures, try finding common ground. Learn more about techniques for influencing others at mhs.com.