Thursday, 21 November 2013

Art of Influencing Others

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.
- Napoleon Hill, American writer and businessman.

There are many ways that you can influence people.

For instance, you can appeal to their deepest-held values and beliefs. You can influence them with logic and reason, and use facts to build your case. You could even just do favors for them.
In this article, we'll look at 11 positive and negative ways of influencing others. When you understand these, you can use the positive approaches, and you can avoid the negative ones. You'll also know when someone's using the negative approaches on you.

About the 11 Influencers

Leadership scholars Gary Yukl and J. Bruce Tracey studied influence in the workplace for more than a decade. They identified 11 different techniques, or "influencers," that people commonly use at work. Yukl highlighted these in his respected 1981 book, "Leadership in Organizations."

These 11 influencers are as follows, classified into positive and negative tactics:

Positive Tactics

1.    Rational persuasion
2.    Apprising
3.    Inspirational appeal
4.    Consultation
5.    Exchange
6.    Collaboration

Negative Tactics

1.    Legitimation
2.    Coalition
3.    Pressure
4.    Ingratiation
5.    Personal appeals

Let's look at each tactic, and consider how you can apply the positive ones.

Positive Tactics

We'll start with positive tactics - tactics that won't harm your relationships when you use them.

1. Rational Persuasion

With rational persuasion, you persuade others with solid facts, clear explanations, and logical arguments.

For example, imagine that you've just pitched a new product idea to the rest of the management team. You can see that Pat, a key decision-maker, isn't sold on your suggestion. So, you use facts and statistics from your research to explain how this new product will open up a new market for your organization.

Rational persuasion is most effective when you use it with someone who shares your objectives.

To use this influence technique, use good information-gathering strategies, and make sure that your facts, statistics, and theories are accurate, well thought through, and relevant.

Also, brainstorm possible objections ahead of time, so that you have the information you need to address them, if they arise.

2. Apprising

With apprising, you explain how your request, idea, or proposal will benefit the other person. However, the person doesn't benefit directly from the project itself - the benefits come as a result of that person's involvement or support.

For instance, imagine that one of your team members, Susan, is reluctant to join a risky new project. However, you really need her expertise for the project to succeed, and you know that she wants to get a promotion. You explain that, if the team succeeds, all of you will get to make a presentation to the executive board. This would spotlight her contribution, and could lead to a promotion down the road.
Tip 1:
Use tools such as McClelland's Human Motivation Theory and the Influence Model to understand what motivates the people you want to influence.

Tip 2:
This technique is especially useful with people who care more about their own needs than they do about their team or organization.

3. Inspirational Appeal

You use this tactic when you appeal to another person's emotions, values, hopes, and ideals. Inspirational appeal helps you forge a strong emotional tie between the person and the project. This can be a powerful motivator.

For instance, let's say that your organization has just moved its head office into a new community, and you've decided to sponsor an environmental clean-up day. To gain buy-in from your team members, who will be the chief volunteers, you explain how their efforts will beautify the environment for everyone in the community, and how they'll make things safer and healthier for local children and wildlife. For many of your people, this will provide a powerful inspiration.

To use this approach, learn what motivates your people, and the values that they care about most - tools such as McClelland's Human Motivation Theory and Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors can help with this. If you're using this tactic to influence team members, think too about the values you looked for when you hired them. Then, tailor your requests to appeal to these, and to their goals, hopes, and dreams.

As part of this, you can use business storytelling to create a strong emotional tie between your audience and your message.

4. Consultation

When you use this approach, you ask people to help you plan how to achieve your goal.

For example, imagine that you want to develop a more effective system to manage your department's sales pipeline. It's a huge project, and you know that it won't be successful unless you get support from everyone in your team. So, you ask team members to help you develop a solution.

This influence tactic is especially useful when you're in charge of a change initiative, and you need help from people to carry out a particular task or project. (Use tools such as Hartnett have to come up with a solution as a group.)

This tactic isn't effective when people don't have the resources needed to achieve the objective, or when what you want them to do clashes with other important objectives that they have.

5. Exchange

This technique, which is based on reciprocity, involves rewarding others for their help or involvement with a request. This could be a reward of resources or information, help and support on another project or task, or something tangible (such as additional compensation or benefits).

For example, imagine that you have a report due by the end of the day, and you won't finish it on time without assistance. You ask your colleague, Gerard, to help you compile the data. There's no real benefit to Gerard if he assists you - this will even put him behind on his own work. However, you know that Gerard wants to spend more time with his family, so you offer to help him finish his next report early, so that he can take an extra day off later in the month.

This tactic is appropriate when you have a request that offers no obvious benefits to others, yet will cost them a considerable amount of time, stress, or inconvenience.

6. Collaboration

With collaboration, you make it easier for the other person to get involved, or to approve your request.

For example, let's say that you want a client to attend a meeting with your team, but she's reluctant to participate because she's busy and she has a long way to travel. So, you arrange for your team to visit her at her office instead. That way, she only has to take a small amount of time out of her schedule to join the meeting.
Collaboration might seem similar to the exchange tactic because, with both, you offer to do something for others.

The key difference is that with exchange, you offer something to others, while with collaboration; you make it easier for others.

Negative Tactics

When you use negative approaches to influence, you can strain your relationships, hurt others, and damage your reputation.

It's also important to know about these negative techniques, so that you can tell when others are using them on you.

7. Legitimation

People use legitimation tactics when they attempt to establish their authority, or their right to request something from you. They might also try to prove that their request is consistent with organizational policies, rules, or practices.

People often use this technique with unreasonable requests, or when they're unfamiliar with how much authority the person they want to influence has.

This tactic is linked to the idea of legitimate power. Therefore, it may be appropriate to use it if other more positive forms of influence have failed.

8. Coalition

This is when someone uses other people to influence you, such as your boss, clients, colleagues, or team members - essentially, they try to "gang up" with others to push you into doing something.

The influencer might ask others to influence you directly. However, he might also simply use other people's endorsement or opinions to sway your decision.

9. Pressure

People use pressure tactics when they threaten you or act aggressively. They might make repeated demands for you to change your mind, even after you say "no." Or, they may try to take away some of your power, or discredit you.

Pressure tactics often go along with bullying, and will likely leave you feeling stressed, upset, resentful, and angry.

10. Ingratiation

With ingratiation, others try to make you feel better about yourself before they make a request. For example, they might praise you, or do you a favor, before they ask for your assistance.

This can turn into manipulation when the praise or flattery is insincere, or when people do favors so that they receive something in return, later down the line, without being honest about their intentions.

11. Personal Appeals

People make personal appeals when they ask you to do things because of friendship, loyalty, kindness, or generosity.

This influence tactic can make you feel that someone has manipulated you, or that they've taken advantage of you.

Key Points

Leadership scholars Gary Yukl and J. Bruce Tracey identified 11 influence tactics that people commonly use in the workplace. Yukl outlined these in his book, "Leadership in Organizations."

The six positive influencers are:

1.    Rational persuasion
2.    Apprising
3.    Inspirational appeal
4.    Consultation
5.    Exchange
6.    Collaboration

The five negative influencers are:

1.    Legitimation
2.    Coalition
3.    Pressure
4.    Ingratiation
5.    Personal appeals

It's helpful to understand these tactics, so you can choose the right one to use when you need to influence others.

It's also useful to understand negative influence tactics, so that you can avoid using them, and so that you can recognize when someone is using them on you.

Monday, 4 November 2013

6 Ways To Get Noticed At Work Immediately

Success comes most to those who are surrounded by people who want their success to continue. As you reflect upon your career goals and how to be a more effective leader, here are six ways to immediately get noticed at work without self-promotion.

1.  Be a Silent Influencer
The workplace is divided into two primary groups:  the loud disorganized/disenfranchised and the silent influencers. Notice how the silent influencers are the ones that people are most curious about. They are the ones that are invited to be a part of the most important projects and rarely participate in group activities were the loud disorganized people are involved.

The silent influencer has nothing in common with the recognition addict. They are the ones that possess quiet confidence yet speak up often enough to make their voices heard and have tremendous impact while doing it. The silent influencer has the executive presence that most employees long for. They are quick to see & seize opportunity, yet don’t flaunt their success as they move onto the next one.

Being a silent influencer is a great way to get noticed. You keep people wondering what you’re up to and curious about getting into your circle. When you are a silent influencer, you don’t allow the noise to disrupt your momentum.

2.  Do More than Your Job Description
Always look around, beyond and beneath the opportunities that you seek. Those that get noticed at work are those who approach each day with wide-angle vision. They see through a lens that extends well beyond their job description. Employees that know how to get noticed quickly have mastered the ability to maximize the value of their workplace dot and are continuously looking for ways to expand their sphere of influence throughout the organization.

The most effective way to expand your sphere of influence is by becoming proficient at helping others do their job. This will require you to know their job description and core responsibilities. Expanding your influence is about not only doing your job, but helping everyone else do theirs.

3.  Help Your Colleagues Succeed
One of the most powerful and rarely discussed success factors to employ in your career is the ability to share the momentum that you are building with others. Helping your colleagues succeed is a sign of self-confidence, self-trust, teamwork and collaborative leadership.

I've learned so far that the more opportunities you create for others, the more the door will open for you. This is why networking and knowing how to align yourself with the right people is so critically important throughout your career. When the organization you serve witnesses your genuine desire to help your colleagues succeed, you will immediately get noticed.

I am not referring to  only mentoring someone – but having a strong working relationship with colleagues where you are constantly guiding them and providing them the hands-on wisdom to help them see their successes all the way through to the end. 

You can further accelerate your ability to get noticed when the person or people you are helping are not within your department and/or functional area. It’s also important to note that while your intentions to help others succeed are genuine and true – equally be passionate about learning from those whom you are helping. People want to know that your intentions are to build mutually rewarding relationships where everyone wins.

4.  Don’t Get Caught Up In the Political
Being in the know is more about staying focused on your ability to generate results while creating impact and influence in your work – rather than getting caught-up in the political weeds at work. Stay away from the politics and keep yourself and your colleagues focused on growth, innovation and opportunity. 

Too many employees that want to get noticed believe that getting involved in corporate politics will give them a leg-up. It doesn't hurt to be aware of the political weeds and those who seem to be the ones that are harvesting trouble – so that you don't get trapped in the weeds or by the people watering them.

Stay far away from the underground conversations because you never know when you may get associated with the negative dynamics (even if you are not involved). If you don’t, you run the risk of creating a negative image for yourself that may steer you away from the influence-rs and thus you will find your career in a continuous holding pattern.

5.  Constructive Conflict
Playing it too safe at work will make it more difficult to get noticed. If you are looking to advance in your career and develop as a leader, it is imperative that you continuously test your ideas and ideals.  You need to know how your talents best fit within the organization. It’s healthy to challenge the old ways of doing things – with the intention of making things better, creating new ways of generating results and improving everyone’s performance.

Constructive conflict is being mindful enough to challenge the status-quo respectfully and to do it in a manner that assures your colleagues and the organizations don’t grow complacent. Many times a workplace culture becomes too self-satisfied – especially when the company is making money. 

Regardless of the environment, constructive conflict allows you to get noticed because you are being courageous enough to “shake things up” and test new ways of helping the organization grow and compete.

6.  Be Yourself
This is the most important way to get noticed immediately – yet the one that most people still haven’t quite figured out.   When you can be your most authentic self, you are able to deliver your full potential at work each and every day.  It allows you to do steps 1-5 seamlessly and have fun at work again. When you are having fun, you give permission for others to have fun too. Your energy becomes contagious; your leadership and work ethic become valued and respected.

You don’t need to self - highlight to get noticed.  It’s unnecessary to accelerate the advancement of your career.  The trick is to know how you best fit within the organization and to trust yourself enough to go for it!   You don’t need to be perfect – you just need to be really good consistently.

Once you have figured out how to navigate the changing terrain, you will be on your way. Pace yourself, observe, learn, deliver results and make sure that the organization keeps winning. You will rise and get noticed immediately.

Courtesy # Glenn Llopis