Prajna Capital: INFLUENCING
LEADERSHIP has taken on new meaning and greater challenges in the last decades. Influencing is a critical skill that must be mastered simply because we work with a multitude of people. There is no right way, nor is there only one way to influence others. In organisational life, influence is a key skill. It helps earn co-operation from colleagues, ensures your voice is heard and makes you a better leader. Remember that the real skill is learning how to influence through commitment, loyalty and trust, rather than through mere compliance or, at worst, coercion.
Know what you want:
Start with the end in mind. You must clearly know what the end state is and what outcome you desire. Then identify the key stakeholders who you need to influence. Try to discover as much as you can about them and where they are coming from by asking open-ended questions that will encourage them to talk.
Learn more about yourself:
A heightened sense of selfawareness and the effect you have on other people is vital.
Are you viewed as analytical, or more of a sensitive, creative type? Do you have a reputation for taking risks, or are you a safe-bet decision-maker?Are you a strategic visionary or a down-to-earth pragmatist?
Be proactive and build a power base:
Build a foundation for influence before you need it. Having a good power base of relationships with others will make influencing a much easier task. Be proactive and do not wait until you need something to start showing an interest in what others are doing. Build all around positive relationships both vertically and horizontally.
Build up your leadership skills:
The success ultimately rests on leadership talent, so use every opportunity to practise, test and improve your skills. A carefully selected mentor can help you reach higher levels of self-awareness, and give insight on how you might become more influential.
Do your research so that you can anticipate reactions be prepared to address them. If you know in advance how people are likely to respond to your proposition or idea, you will be better prepared to deal with their reactions or resistance. Determine whose support you absolutely need to have and speak with others to clearly understand what you need to do to get their buy-in.
Raising your profile and maintaining a high visibility is critical to gaining support and co-operation for your ideas. Spending more time socialising with the individuals you are trying to influence will also help cultivate trust.
Continued skill building:
Now that you've had experience with using this process to win someone over, continue building on your expertise. Look for small projects where you can use your influencing skills and create more wins for yourself. This will get you prepared for the grateful day that the "BIG" idea shows up. You'll now be equipped with the skill, knowledge and confidence that you need to tackle it with ease.
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