The ability to influence others may be the most critical skill leaders need to develop to ensure their business competes successfully in a highly competitive global economy. Companies must be agile enough to respond rapidly to changes in their marketplace, if they are to survive and thrive.

Leaders must understand that the ability to influence others is no longer about just winning employees over to their ideas or way of doing things – that’s just a subtle form of command and control management which is outdated and rarely proves successful in the long-term. Being able to truly influence others is much more about developing the ability to generate support from others to achieve desired business outcomes. Leaders who exhibit this competency apply it in a planned and strategic way, never randomly. They motivate people to want to follow them even when they don’t have to! As a leader, your ability to influence others could make or break you.

Here are some things to consider as you seek to influence others effectively:

Build trust first: The old saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is appropriate here. Expecting others to be influenced to your way of thinking simply because you’re smart or have credentials or are in a position of authority isn’t realistic. They need to trust you. They want to know that you have their best interests in mind every bit as much as your own and to be clear that ultimately you are working in the best interests of the organization.

Consult widely, listen and adapt your ideas: Include all important stakeholders from the beginning as your thought process unfolds. This will assist with buy-in and avoid errors or resistance down the road. Know in advance on what you might be willing to compromise and where you would refuse to compromise such as acting in an unethical or illegal way.

Listen to what others have to say and adapt their best ideas to help shape the final solution. Remember, nobody has all the answers but collectively you are more likely to find the best solution or way forward which everyone buys in to. If you decide that you only want things your way, you may suffer consequences. If you decide to compromise based on what they want, there may be issues.

If you would like to develop your ability to influence better, then contact me: Email or call me on +44(0)7597 674328

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