360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence

Influencing and Leadership: CoachStation

To be able to effectively influence others is a key leadership skill. However, like many skills, particularly those involving the art of working with people, influencing can be a challenge.

Situations, relationships, cultures and other variables impact your ability to influence. You do not have control over every one of these variables – but you do have control over developing a deeper set of skills in influencing others. Improve yourself through self-development and learn to influence others more effectively in practice.

  • Be aware of your own body language and that of others. The ability to ‘read’ others through what is unsaid can be a powerful input into influencing.
  • Take into account the other person’s perspective. The ultimate empathy position can be found when you step into the other person’s shoes – standing where they stand, seeing what they see and hearing what they hear. Understanding other people’s perspectives and points of view helps you to gain the support of them and reach mutually desirable outcomes.
  • Trust: being trusted and trusting others is a great base to work from. Those who influence most recognise the need for trust and understand the nuances that enable trust to be built. In a real relationship trust cannot be faked.
  • Communication: the ability to make your point clearly and listen effectively is understood by most but practiced by few. Depending on the situation and audience different skills need to be drawn upon, however deep and effective communication skills are essential in leadership.
  • Have a plan: know what you want to achieve and what the other person or group is seeking from the relationship. Influencing has a relationship to those techniques commonly found in service and sales techniques – learn them!
  • Negotiating: seek understanding of other people’s feelings and show a genuine interest in other people’s needs. Be prepared to give something up and know what you are not prepared to flex. Compromise but remain steadfast to what matters most in the situation.

Although not a definitive list, developing strength in these skills will assist you to influence others. Through greater awareness and practice you will also be exposed to the power of influence through your own experiences.

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