This is the second post in a 2-part series of articles about influence. Read the first post here.

Year after year, the #1 thing our clients request coaching on, regardless of industry or job title, remains influence.

This is because leaders understand the value and importance of influencing down, across and upwards to their direct reports, peers and superiors.

And they want more of it: influence brings speed and action and enhances performance. Improving these relationships through effective communication is part of what allows each member to perform best within their roles.

Many of our coaching clients have to wield influence in their professional roles and personal lives, which can be difficult.They do not want to do or say the wrong thing, for fear of being out of place.

How we create and use influence with others is an informal process that isn’t easy to pin down and examine. It involves taking a human-centered approach and changing perspective.

One simple way to enhance your influence is to get human with people. You will have more influence if you invest time in other people and get to know them and what matters to them.

  • Consider: what if you really know what motivates your people? What project they are most excited about and why? What strengths and talents they bring to a new piece of work?
  • Consider: what if you really understood the goals of your peers?  How do their priorities get supported or achieved through your idea?
  • Consider: what if you knew how to communicate with your boss?  Or how they see your efforts fitting into the larger goal?

The simple step you can take is to ask. Meet with them to gain more understanding. Be human.

One reason a human-to-human approach will work to enhance your influence is the simple fact that you will now know how to tailor your pitch to be attractive to each audience. Not everyone leads the same way, so why expect everyone to respond the same to leadership methods? Each individual has their own opinion on what drives their performance, and understanding that about your co-workers is essential to the success of everyone.

Remember: there is no ‘I’ in team.

But, a more important reason this works is that the people you interact with will feel valued and understood. This emotional connection creates a bridge that you can build on over time. Knowing that they work in a judgement-free space allows employees to suggest more ideas, and contribute more. They are not afraid of failure, rejection or a bad suggestion!

People will take a risk for a person they trust and like. People will go out on a limb for someone they know has their best interests in mind too. In other words, be human and gain influence.

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