To win over someone’s influence isn’t an easy feat. It requires understanding, openness, shared experiences and a willingness to see things from a different perspective. Naturally we are all drawn to certain people. Often due to unconscious bias, we have preferences for people who are similar to us in some way such as appearance, background, hobbies etc. Once set it is very difficult to change a persons opinion of you. Unfortunately, in the workplace a bad impression can have long lasting and negative implications.
With regard to leadership, the ability to influence others is essential. Ideally good, positive, solid relationship would begin from the start. By getting off on the right foot, you set the tone and save a great deal of time, energy and stress in the long term. But we’ve all encountered people we just don’t seem to have made a great impression on. Consider this and take a moment to reflect on why it may have happened. Gaining an understanding or insight into why is the first step to influencing others. When reflecting on this take into account the following ways leaders win people over:
Let’s start at the beginning; you are a project manager, you will be the authority in the workplace, you’ve worked hard and achieved your senior position. Perhaps this is intimidating to others? Playing into this role could present an image of flawlessness which risks being interpreted as arrogant. Quickly this will create a barrier preventing others from relating to you.
Respect is earn through actions and not titles. Your team will be looking for a leader who they can trust. Someone supportive, responsible and able to engage with others without being patronising and authoritarian. By taking time to understand what other people require of you and seeing the situation from their perspective you will start to align your intensions with theirs. As a result you will create foundations to build rapport and establish great working relationships.
People will not engage positively with you if you are closed off. Making a genuine effort to engage with people will show you are prepared to open yourself up to the possibility of rejection. Instantly you are proving that this person is worth that vulnerability and valuable to you. Really invest in your relationships, give others the opportunity to feel empowered and take risks on their behalf. This will earn trust and respect – the foundation of any great team and team leader.
Show compassion and heart. Be considerate to others and clearly demonstrate that you care about how you are impacting on others with your leadership. Never be too proud to show vulnerability. This will make you human and give your team the opportunity to feel they can support you too and it’s a two way street.
Put time aside for team building. It may seem unproductive to take staff away from the workplace and their work but exercises which strengthen a sense of ‘team’ boosts morale, creates healthy relationships and develops trust. Create an environment which values equality and diversity, encourages well being and values staff. Personality types may differ, but shared experiences allow us to appreciate the “human factor” in ourselves and others.
Value different perspectives
Get to know your team. Spend time observing them and watch how they interact with one another and pay attention to how they respond to you. Speak to them and listen. Arrange for private conversations and make employees feel heard and respected. Keep the information you are given safe.
Make sure your channels of communication are open. There should be ample opportunity for the team to talk to one another and share ideas. Make sure everyone is updated on news or changes and involved in decision making.
Engage in Learning provide Influencing Pathway courses which will help you clarify your goals, focus efforts on the right people and select the most appropriate influencing tactics. The Influencing to Win/Win course will show you how to adapt your influencing tactics to the situation and the people involved.