Influencer is one of those words that gets used a lot these days. It has definitely taken on a different form with the rise of social media influencers. You could argue as a result the potency of the skill may somehow have been diluted. It may even lead people to believe that this is a skill that only leaders and high profile people need to have but this can’t be far from the actual truth. In this post I want to position an introduction to influencing styles/choices.
The video of the Live Lunch and Learn that I do then adds more detail on how to choose a style and how to use your influence. When you read around the web you will find different titles for the same styles but they are pretty much similar. I wanted to maintain simplicity by using 5 P’s- something that would be easy to remember and put into action. As well as being styles I see some of them as choices you make. You potentially have a default you operate from and this can be both a good and a bad thing. Even with the best of intentions your default may not always serve you well, so it’s worth knowing when to flex.
Having grown a network it is important to learn how you can work with your network to achieve your goals. Influencing them is just one of many ways to do this.
1. Position Influencing
This is when someone holds a position of power, leadership or specialist position. They will use their authority, skill or knowledge to influence people around them. A good example can be a Senior Manager asking for a project to be delivered. In most organisations whether this is correct or not somebody’s rank is enough for them to give an ultimate instruction and not be questioned about it (especially not by more junior staff). Someone’s position will give them the authority to make certain decisions and to direct or order the execution of those decisions.
2. Personality Influencing
Influence by personality can work across any level of the organisation. You don’t have to be in a position of power or authority to use this style. You can get things done if you are confident, assertive, charming or forceful as part of your personality. The results you may get are pretty mixed. If you use force all the time that is a sure way to become unpopular and fail to influence in the process. Too much assertiveness can lead to confrontation and coming across as aggressive. Your personality and how you influence using it is open to perception and can be received how you intended and work for you or potentially back fire. Using personality also relies on knowing the sort of people the person you are influencing gets on with. Picking up on non-verbal cues is important as a way of gauging how you are being received and perceived. This can become tricky and challenging if you have no insider insights into this information.
3. Persuasion Influencing
This style will mean you compose a compelling rationale to bring people round to your way of thinking. You can use logic and facts to persuade and inform the decisions to be made. You could also make a heart to heart appeal with elements of personality coming into play or using stories. Knowing whom you are trying to persuade and influence is important. Being aware that some people will only make decisions when they have access to all the facts will help you put together the right information for consideration.
4. Partnership Influencing
Seeking out a partnership is probably one of the most desirable ways to influence. To do this you will have to find a mutually beneficial outcome from combining resources and taking action. Even though this style comes from having a mutual interest, the outcomes desired can be different for each party. It’s quite likely though that if the interests are conflicting you can end up in a slight tug of war and other influencing styles can come into play unexpectedly. Depending on the situation up front clarity if possible can help with setting of expectations.
5. Peer Influencing
If you are at the same level there is a mutual understanding of what you both have to deal with and how you possibly will need help at some stage from each other. This creates a no pressure zone and a comfortable arrangement for influencing. The issue you will face with this as a style and choice is that because you are both at the same level, there is no leverage over the other person. Let downs can be common ground because there is no obligation unless as a by-product a partnership is formed.
There is a lot to explore around influencing and useful in every case is an understanding of your default style and how effective and sustainable they are. How will you do things differently having read about the choices/styles of influencing?