In most cases, your boss is the person with the most influence over your ability…
This month’s topic: How to gain extraordinary influence
Who among us doesn’t want to be more influential?
Influence is something we want and need because, in this highly interactive world, it helps us get more done through others, and makes us feel good when others are attracted to our value.
Here is an article I wrote last month that may help you elevate your influence:
And a how-to article I wrote to help you get there:
If you are interested in gaining influence as a leader, let me also suggest some of my favorite resources:
- Influence expert Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. This site offers some helpful animation to understand these concepts better and you can apply them in your work immediately.
- I’m a big fan of social psychologist Heidi Grant, and her book Reinforcements touches on an often-overlooked technique of gaining influence: asking for help. According to writings by Benjamin Franklin, you may be perceived as more likable by someone from whom you ask for help, despite our general discomfort with requesting assistance. Check out this article to learn more from Heidi about this concept.
- The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed in 2,000 Years (Harvard Business Review). Aristotle’s teachings on this have endured the test of time. We will always enhance our likelihood of influencing others through techniques like storytelling.
- Speaking of storytelling for influence, Tell to Win is an informative book about the power of story by Peter Guber, Executive Chairman of the Golden State Warriors, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and producer of Oscar-winning movies like Rain Man and The Color Purple, to name a few, who also is a business school professor. Here’s a quote from his book highlighting how presentation and story drive influence (pg. 170-1):
“…. every business requires a certain amount of show business. People in and out of the business world will pay closer attention, absorb more information, feel more engaged, and be far more likely to get your point if they feel like active participants, rather than passengers, in your story.
How can they participate? By laughing, crying, getting excited, questioning old beliefs, embracing possibilities, answering questions, standing or moving their bodies, or handling your props.
How the story is readied and set is critical, but equally important is the manner in which you actually deliver—or tell—your story, so that your audience can own it, act on it, and tell it forward.”
- Lastly, I’m currently reading and highly recommend the newly released book, The Ride of a Lifetime, by the Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger. He shares many fascinating stories about his ups and downs in leadership and influence, particularly as it relates to finding steadiness through mergers and massive corporate change. One quote, among many, applies to the art of influencing as a leader. It refers to the importance of leading others for them, not for you. (pg. 231):
“It’s subtle, but there’s a difference between communicating that you share [your team’s] stress-that you’re in it with them-and communicating that you need them to deliver in order to alleviate your stress.”
Until next time, wishing you continued influence – and success,