How Do You Influence?

As many can tell from many of my posts, my career has been mostly as a manager. I have a somewhat easier route to influencing my direct reports. I’m the manager who coaches and mentors his employee’s. I’m the manager that writes and determines their compensation. I have more direct connection to my employee’s. Influencing skills are critical for direct and especially with indirect management. Each and everyday we each influence others.  I asked a manager friend of mine, the other day, to describe how he influences others?  After several moments – he started to describe a situation and what he did. He really could not clearly state what skills or styles he uses. I am not surprised, when he twisted that question to me – I was somewhat lost for words. I never really gave it all that much thought. So, off I went to find some answers.

Researchers have found that most people use influencing styles that are a combination of logical, emotional and cooperative appeals. Nice what of wrapping words around my manager friend and my answers to the question – describe how you influence others?

Influencing Styles:

  • Logical influencing is about appealing to the person’s reason and intellect. Clearly and logically explaining what one is trying to achieve and the why. Providing examples of how one’s goal is realistic and achievable. Going back to setting the proper expectations in a very logical manner.
  • Emotional influencing is about linking the message to an emotional motivator. Demonstrate the trust that you have in the person’s capabilities.  Everyone wants to be successful, so tie you message around the success that will come from doing the work (visibility in the organization, learning new skills and the all important advancement).
  • Cooperative influencing is about building a connection between the two parties. Working together to set expectations, making decisions or just getting the necessary results. In the end, the relationship becomes stronger and easier with cooperative influencing.

To drive home this with an example – I want to use my adult children. When raising kids – you get to practice almost everyone of these everyday. I remember trying to use logic at times, just to see the deer in the headlights look or the disgust look of your wasting my time. But, you march through – because they will grow up and need to be able to do the right things. Emotional seemed to really work! Never really got much pushback on any reward system. Cooperative on the other hand, difficult to practice on the wee little ones. When you can include them, it definitely makes for some solid shaping of the young adults that they could become. I think this example also translates to influencing at work as well. I think I learned the honed the skills in the workplace – than applied them when my children were born. For me, I don’t think I can ever stop learning how to do this better, the situation and the people are changing every time.