Is there a crucial skill that could act as a substitute for multiple other skills? Yes. It is the art of influencing others. Without the ability to influence others, one’s will to turn vision into reality remains an obscure dream as one can’t do everything alone.
In the early years of a career or individual contributor role, the art of influencing and persuasion translates to working effectively with people without any authority over them. This requires the ability to present logical and compelling arguments and get others on board with your plan. In senior-level or executive roles, influence is focused more on steering long-range objectives, inspiration, and motivation. This predominantly means that the ability to influence peers as well as superiors and subordinates is a crucial part of working in a team.
For an efficient manager, it is key that they practice the art of influencing and persuading to positively impact their team and work goals.
One of the ways to get people interested in your thoughts is by getting interested in theirs. Not just encourage them, but get genuinely interested in what they have to say. Ask questions and connect with them emotionally. You need to find a way to connect your emotions with them and become more understanding. This will help you to influence other people as people will do anything in their power to achieve the goal with you when your emotions and their emotions are connected with the same goal.
One of the ways to gain authority is by empowering others. This can be done by giving them an image to live up to. Encourage them to rise above their mistakes by showing them easier ways they can correct themselves. When you appreciate others and point to their good qualities, they feel empowered. They will respect you and would go out of their way to help you achieve your goals.
There are times when people’s ideas don’t align with yours. In such instances, don’t resist their opinions or shut them off by telling them that they are wrong. Respect other people’s opinions as well. They might believe in something different and they think they are right from their perspective. Try to understand their stance so that when you explain yours they’d genuinely get interested in learning about your thread of thoughts.
In order to influence other people, give them what they really want. One of the ways to do this is by starting off the conversation by talking about their interest. When you think about other people and their needs, they will love you and get interested in your wants and needs. Making others feel important is the first step to influencing them.
A leader never orders their team members rather asks them about their opinions. Nobody likes to follow orders but they surely love to suggest actionably. When people have something to contribute to the process, they work more diligently towards the goal. Be a leader who is persistent enough to persuade team members to work on his/her plans but flexible enough to accept new ones.
The ability to influence others is a gift that few people are born with. However, you can always practice certain behaviors to get better at them if aren’t the gifted one. These are some simple yet overlooked tips that are effective not only in perfecting the art of influence but also are effective in embedding leadership qualities.