In today’s career world, to get ahead requires good leadership. In order to have good leadership, one must have the ability to be influential. To influence the general populace is not an easy task and many people have struggled to gain this ability while others come upon it quite naturally.
For those folks that struggle, it’s important to set a gauge for yourself and to understand what your influential style is and if it’s working well for you. Here's how to get started:
- In general, think about your style when you’re trying to influence a person or a group of people. Do you educate and seek commentary before getting folks on board? Do you state the direction while maybe allowing some commentary although it won’t really change your mind? Do you rely on others with experience of the message to help with delivery?
- Do a review of your past decisions and goals. How many were successfully implemented and why? How many weren’t and why? If people didn’t buy into what you were saying, did you experience slowing or stopping of forward movement?
- Many leaders have a mentor or someone they look up to, often taking on that style of influence. Think about whom has influenced you and why. Do you use the same tactics? Are they working for your team or situation? Do you have the ability to change your style on-the-fly to fit the audience and the situation?
- Looking beyond yourself is important, too. It’s wise to judge the temperature in the room real-time when you’re speaking. When you make a decision and communicate it to others, how do they react? Are they generally excited about the direction or do you see grumbling or people tuning out?
- Be in tune with the general feeling of the team regarding your leadership style. Does your company survey employees and offer the feedback anonymously back to leaders to review? If so, do you review it and understand how people in your organization view your leadership style and your ability to influence them? What changes have you made based on survey feedback?
Learning to be successful at influencing isn't really something that can be learned quickly or from textbooks. It’s important to reflect and learn from our mistakes and able to adjust how we influence for any given situation. Listening is also just as important as speaking when it comes to being a strong influencer.