Influence is the primary tool leaders have to create alignment and build commitment across a diverse constituency. OnPoint’s research found that the most effective leaders leverage four core influence tactics to gain commitment and buy-in to their plans and proposals:
- Rational persuasion (using facts and logic)
- Inspiration (appealing to values and beliefs)
- Consultation (involving others in “shaping” the idea)
- Collaboration (decreasing the difficulty of carrying out a request by offering to provide additional help or resources)
Effective influencers understand what is important to the other person from an organizational perspective—goals, business challenges, and what they are trying to accomplish—and at a personal level—values, beliefs, and style. This knowledge helps them better position their proposal or idea with the other person or group.
People often believe that they need to be the most senior person to exert influence and persuade others to do what needs to be done. This is a myth. The ability to influence is not based on organizational hierarchy alone. However, if a leader waits until the moment they need to influence someone to establish credibility or build a relationship, it is too late.
Developing personal relationships, establishing credibility, and building trust are the foundation for gaining buy-in. Day-to-day actions lay the groundwork for being able to influence a colleague, boss, or direct report when the time comes.
In global organizations, working with a geographically dispersed team means influencing people from a distance. In order to be able to work together to achieve team goals and objectives, building trust and credibility will be critical with these remote populations. It will be the leaders of these ‘virtual’ teams who learn how to influence from a distance who will undoubtedly be the winners going forward.
A leader’s success depends on the ability to build consensus among people who often have competing priorities or conflicting goals. Top leaders use four core tactics to successfully gain commitment.
This interactive guide outlines the fundamentals of effective influencing behaviors, when to use them and how influence varies across cultures and gender. It’s based on our own research and research from others in this area. Take the first step toward empowering your leaders by exploring the guide and sharing it with your teams.
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