Influencing successfully on a daily basis is one of those must do, challenging, and sometimes dreaded “job description” items for leaders. What’s the best approach to take when we are trying to influence someone?
We tend to knee-jerk into our tried and true patterns around influence style which can be ultimately ineffective.
Here’s an example: Jim is a senior leader that has many years of success influencing through his warm, engaging personality. He just made “friends” so easily that his ideas were listened and agreed to often. Then he met “Godzilla Pete”. The tough senior exec that joined the company who no one could cozy up to. This was a “no nonsense” bottom-liner that was only interested in results, had no time for small talk, and was on a mission to build his empire. Jim tried unsuccessfully multiple times to engage Pete through personal appeals, but never met Pete on his own turf. Ultimately Pete succeeded in winning parts of Jim’s organization over to his control.
The lesson: we must amend our influence tactics to reflect the preferred tactics of those we need to influence. If Jim would have met Pete “head to head” he might have had a better chance of influencing him, and retained control of his organization.
Below are the ten most common influence tactics. Rate yourself high or low for usage of each, and ask yourself why you shy away from some and not others. In particular, look at the ones you summarily reject, those may be a great key to opening up your repertoire. Next time you need to influence someone ask yourself which tactic might work best for them?