Influence is critical to the success of any leader. It means garnering enough power within your organization to gain support from others and achieve the results you are working toward. Effective leaders develop a strong base of influence. They know how to use high impact influence skills, causing others to want to follow their lead, rather than being coerced. Their ideas are heard and often implemented. Here are steps you can take to significantly boost your influence with others.
1. Develop organizational know-how.
Begin by fully understanding the mission of the organization as well as the strategic initiatives. Make sure that your focus is well aligned. Study the way things get done and learn how to effectively use the formal and informal structures. Know with which work units you need to form strategic alliances, and then build strong relationships. Identify key decision makers and learn the way they like to have proposals presented and what appear to be their hot buttons. Continually gather surveillance about how your organization works, becoming wise about how to maneuver the landscape.
2. Establish a track record of success.
Credibility is characteristic of influential leaders. By setting and achieving specific, measurable goals others** can clearly see that you can get things done. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn just enough to let others know about your accomplishments. One of the dangers of being too modest is that your good work, as well as your staff members’, goes unnoticed. Be seen as someone who makes an impact with actions, not only words. Your track record will be especially effective if you are known for some unique talents and accomplishments.
3. Ramp-up your persuasive communication ability.
Persuasion requires, first of all, a clear and compelling message. Always do your homework and carefully develop your key ideas with the audience in mind. Ask, What arguments will make the most sense to this group? Support those ideas with evidence and stories that will engage those you want to influence. Use both logical arguments and emotional appeal. Keep the message simple, avoiding excessive redundancy and information overload. Demonstrate energy and passion for your ideas. Remember that the non-verbal message is even more powerful than your words.
Honing your influence skills is essential. To be successful, start long before you attempt to wield influence with others. Generate a reputation as someone who is accomplished and committed to the organization. Learn to navigate your organization with ease, building strategic relationships and treating everyone with respect. Communicate with clarity and gusto. Soon you will find you have created a base of power of influence that can admirably serve you and your staff.