Influential influence

As I move into the next phase of my career in the next few months, it will become much more important to be able to influence others outside my normal sphere of activity.  I’m already a middle manager with a wide network across the organisation, but the next step will take me into a higher stratosphere of connections.  I need to change up my influencing from my subordinates and peers to upper levels and very senior levels of the organisation.

The Centre for Creative Leadership offers four areas of advice for effective leaders to inspire, persuade and encourage by using the knowledge and skills of a group to help point people towards and common aim and bring about commitment to change.

1) organisational intelligence – being aware of not just the organisational structure bur the informal structure of the political landscape by networking to build strategic allies, consider context and goals before decided how and when to express an opinion, paying close attention to nonverbal clues, active listening, and considering how others might feel, and leaving others with a  good impression without coming across as too aggressive.

2) Team promotion – and a bit of authentic self-promotion without bragging or being selfish.  A bit of well placed self-promotion can provide visibility and opportunities for the team by providing some organisational pride, make capabilities and ideas more visible across the organisation, therefore improving collaboration.  Leaders need to put themselves in the spotlight and find ways to find an audience and sell their team’s story.

3) Trust building – without trust there is probably much less commitment from others, or access to tapping into the full creativity of the team.  Being able to leverage this is crucial when dealing with tough challenges or making strategic changes.  People look for leaders who show some vulnerability and inspire them, understand them and guide them.  It’s a careful balance between pushing people in to areas they are uncomfortable with whilst listening to their concerns and feedback.  Being tough but empathetic with others as they struggle, as well as demonstrating urgency and patience requires careful balance.

4) Leveraging networks – In order to influence others leaders need to cultivate networks.  As organisations shift and morph, leaders need to recognise personal networks must also be dynamic.  They need to be strategic about choosing how and when to tap into the right network.

Then there’s choosing the right influential tactic:

1) logic – taps into rational and intellectual positions, presenting the argument for the best choice of action based on organisational and personal benefits, appealing to the head.

2) emotional – connecting the message, goal or project to individual goals and values, tapping into personal feelings of well-being, service and belonging, tugging at the heart strings to gain support.

3) cooperative – collaborating, consulting and alliance building.  Working together to accomplish mutually important goals, extending the hand to help others.

An invitation landed in my inbox recently that gives me the opportunity to share a new framework that I created with very senior operational and corporate leads across the organisation.  Whilst doing this scares me half to death, I recognise that it’s the ideal opportunity for me to be able to share this piece of work with the very people who will need to be taking it forward in their parts of the organisation.  It’s my piece of work and I am proud of it, and the reception it has received so far. 

Next steps is to make it a reality.


One thought on “Influential influence

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s