Everyone has an opportunity to influence others in the workplace. Employees who are not in a leadership position, often believe they don't have a say, and this can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Ineffective leaders ironically don't have as much influence as they think. If you don't believe me, consider the worst boss you ever worked for - how much influence did this person have over you day to day?
I'm delivering a session on this at the #SWPTA mid year training event in Park City next month, and this is a topic we often address in #parkingindustry training programs. If you would like to have more influence within your organization, these three tips will help you get started.
Sometimes we fall short when attempting to influence others because our message isn't clearly understood. We may not even know ourselves what our goal or objective is. The best way to overcome this is by asking yourself questions like:
- What do I want from this situation?
- What does success look like?
- Why is this important to me?
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, consider the point of view of those you wish to influence:
- How will this benefit them?
- What will the organization gain if your recommendation is accepted?
- Who and what will need to be involved?
You can also use questions when you are discussing your idea with others to help them see what you see.
- How much faster could we meet a customer's needs if we did x?
- What do you think would happen if we did y?
The ability to ask questions is a skill that you can develop and improve upon over time. This can benefit you when influencing others and in many other situations at work.
Recognize the Role of Emotion
Dale Carnegie wisely said, "There is only one way to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it." The way we feel about something directly affects our level of motivation. If you want to win your manager, coworkers or anyone else you work with over to your way of thinking, emotion is a lever you must consider.
Emotions can range between excitement to fear, and when influencing others your objective should be to tap into positive emotions like excitement. Fear and similar emotions will be perceived as negative or manipulative, and while this may be effective in the moment, it will damage trust and your relationship with your colleague in the long term. Instead, think about how the other person will benefit from your suggestion and tailor your message with this in mind. If you ask yourself and others the right questions, as described above, you should be able to identify the benefits for all involved and factor this into your message.
Don't Forget About Data
Emotion will help to win people over, but at the end of the day, decisions are made using data.
- Will your idea save time or money?
- Will it raise levels of customer service?
- How much will it cost?
- How long will it take to implement, and who will need to be involved?
Gather the facts and data needed to support your idea. Make sure it is accurate, objective and provided in a format people can review and understand.
Truly influencing others requires commitment and effort, and this is possible for anyone in any role. Join me at #SWPTA's mid year training to learn more!