The Case for Strategic Influencing
While influencing has always been a key leadership skill, today’s highly matrixed organizational structure makes it absolutely essential.
Influencing was considered the most critical skill for career success in 2021.
Having influence helps leaders:
- Develop strong trust-based relationships
- Achieve long-term goals
- Boost confidence and self-esteem
- Garner public respect
Sources: Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Indeed
Only 20 percent of 17,000 leaders surveyed worldwide have strong influencing skills.
Further, research shows that the most frequently used influencing tactics — pressure, praise, flattery, etc. — are not only ineffective, but they also negatively impact employee outcomes.
On the other hand, the most effective tactics — using value and vision to inspire others and gain their commitment — are the least frequently used.
Sources: Harvard Business Review, Ohio State University
Understand, before you act: Gain a deep understanding of the situation — you and the other party, your relationship, and the dialog you plan to have — before launching your influencing efforts.
Use a wide range of Influencing tactics: Use tactics that are most effective for the party you are seeking to influence.
Approach influencing as a process, not a one time event.
Know when to push, when to pull (back), when to pause and when to pivot.
Build your personal brand so that people trust you and open up to your influence more and more over time.