Benchmark Business Group

Increasing Your Ability to Influence

July 9, 2019

As a leader, there are times when you need to influence a situation. You might need to help an employee improve their performance. Or, ensure that a customer with a bad experience leaves happy. You might even need to negotiate a better deal with a vendor.

In all these situations, the one factor that you always have control of is how you show up. Leaders that easily navigate situations with employees, clients, and vendors, don’t have a secret power. They weren’t necessarily “born” with a special skill set.

Instead, they understand influencing others starts with Self Awareness. Human beings have natural tendencies that influence how we react in various situations. We have a natural baseline of habits, behaviors, and even mannerisms that we default to during these situations. For instance, you might:

  • be impatient and act as soon as you get a hint of an issue
  • need more information before you're willing to act
  • address the situation in a very direct and even blunt manner
  • tend to talk about the situation using positive language and prefer to drop hints rather than directly address the issue

This natural reaction, or baseline, is your preferred method. The problem is, it’s not always the preferred method of those you are attempting to influence. In fact, it might cause a negative reaction and derail your efforts to influence a situation. But, because you always have control of how you show up, you can use this knowledge to become more influential.

Follow these two tips to work on your ability to influence:

1. Have a common language for understanding your baseline. There are many methods that enable you to quickly understand your natural tendencies as well as those of the people around you. We prefer to use DiSC profiles to help our clients and their teams understand and baseline their personal styles.

Having a common language helps you identify what tendencies are likely to fit the preferred style of the person you want to influence. It allows you to find commonalities and to identify the differences between your natural reaction and the best way to communicate to fit the current situation.

2. Take a step back and consider other points of view - You may not need a ton of details to know the answer to a problem. You might prefer to act now. But the person you’re wanting to act may need details to move ahead with confidence. Sure, you can push for action now, but what would happen if you took a moment and realized that to influence the situation you needed to provide a few details?

The power in understanding your natural tendencies is that it allows you to adapt to a situation. Knowing yourself first allows you to meet a situation appropriately and knowing others styles enables you to engage with them in a manner that is more natural to them. This creates better results and often moves you closer to the outcome you were trying to reach.

It may seem like a contradiction; you learn your own tendencies and natural reactions so that you can control the way you show up, but it works. Some people can do this naturally, but most of us have to learn a common language to understand how to best adapt to situations.

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