Influencing in the Workplace

As hierarchies in organisations and layers are reducing, enhancing personal effectiveness and influence skills is crucial in the current workplace. Achieving success and achieving results must be achieved through and from other people. Being able to influence others without formal authority is a crucial ability, and it is impossible to accomplish this without confidence, clarity of vision and the communication skills to express our thoughts fully. As leaders, our responsibilities are to draw upon the qualities we possess in addition to how we can inspire and engage our people.

But influencing skills is not just about getting others always to share our points of view. We may be able to convince them to cooperate with us. However, they may not always agree with us. It’s not about winning at all costs, and being able to do things our way every time. It is not about forcing or getting other people to change. We are unable to change the behavior of others.

Influencing skills IS about behaving in ways that offer other people the opportunity to change (their behaviors, attitudes thoughts, or ways of thinking) or to accommodate your desires while acknowledging the possibility that they are unable to or aren’t willing to or unprepared to to be affected.
The definition of influence skills

Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, defines her influence as

“not the ability to persuade people to do what you would like them to but the ability to influence yourself to follow through with what you wish to do”

We may like it and/or not truth is that we use influencing skills all the time and not only through our actions. Being present at a meeting may influence people positively or negatively. The way we conduct ourselves, or the manner in which we present our presence, the things we say or how we express ourselves as well as the manner of conduct we (unconsciously or otherwise) project is a huge influence.

The better we are at recognizing what we do or what is about us that is affecting on others, the more personally efficient and powerful we become.

Ten things you’ll learn from communication & influencing skills training:

Be aware of non-verbal behaviour – what is not said, what person might feel, paying attention to your personal thoughts emotions, feelings, hunches, and intuitions

Interpretation – to comprehend and respond to non-verbal signals such as body signs such as changes in skin colour breath, demeanour etc., mean.

Active Listening: To listen to the words spoken and listen to what is implied or not and also to convey in your own words what someone else has stated and how they feel and summarizing your own thoughts and ensuring that you are in agreement.

Feedback – give feedback the other person regarding what you notice, perceive, hear as well as what you sense and feel. Elicit feedback from others in order to build your self-knowledge and influence on others.

Awareness – be conscious of your surroundings, moment by moment, especially of habits that are harmful as well as your thoughts, beliefs and reactions.

Make a conscious decision – recognize at any time the way you’re acting is not productive, you are able to alter your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Self-confidence is the feeling of being confident about yourself in the face of resistance or conflict. This confidence should be based on self-acceptance and not based on a sense of superiority to the other person.

Timing – Be able to ensure that the timing is right such as when to give feedback and when to not and when to make use of choice either ‘A’ or ‘B’ and when to resign or be persistent and when to completely let go.

Intuition – rely on your own feelings or hunches about the likely patterns of the other person’s behavior. You can also listen to your inner positive voice.

Another’s Perspective – to look at your objectives (what you’d like) from another’s point of view. You can’t force or command them to accept your position, so determine what’s in it for them, then present them with the benefits, consider your opinions and be prepared to modify your position.

The modern workplace relies heavily on relationships and influence abilities – working with and through other people. It’s very rare that one are effective in your personal life and influence others positively without the reciprocal giving to and taking from other people that creates opportunities for growth and your effectiveness – and you can only achieve this by having the support and challenge only other people can give you.