Have you ever found yourself suddenly motivated or inspired by someone else and thought, “how did they do that?”
You’ve probably conjured a person in your mind whom you consider as having a strong influence. What sets them apart? You may be thinking of charisma or charm, or possibly assertiveness. But influence isn’t about personality. At the end of the day, influence is a skill that can be practiced and developed like any other skill. In your career, your ability to influence those around you can make or break your success. No one is an island, and you’ll need to build trust and credibility to get buy-in from others to help you reach your professional goals.
The first step is to be aware of the Five Styles of Influence. These are the most common tactics used when influencing others either consciously or subconsciously. Knowing your own ‘preferred’ influence style and identifying any gaps will give you a foundation for strengthening your ability to use and switch between all 5 styles as needed.
In our workshop, Leading Without Authority: Influence, Persuade & Motivate, Audrey Halpern identifies the following 5 styles and how to spot them:
- This is the most common style. Rationalizing involves using facts and logic to back up your ideas and goals. Rationalizers love facts and will often go with whatever makes the most sense. However, this style may not be effective if the other party tends to rely on emotions or intuition.
- Asserting involves insisting your ideas are heard and challenging the ideas of others. Asserters will often apply pressure or attempt to wear others down by repeating themselves and redirecting the conversation back to their viewpoints or goals. This style may not be as effective when the other party is very concerned with collaboration.
- Negotiating is all about spending the time to find a win-win solution, or as close as you can get. Negotiators are willing to compromise to get closer to their goals and are usually concerned with the greater good. This style may not be effective in situations where time is limited.
- Inspiring involves encouraging and motivating the people around you. Inspirers typically speak with high energy, paint vivid pictures of the positive outcomes, and focus on shared interests to get others excited. This style may not be effective if the other party is mostly concerned with facts and quantifiers.
- Bridging is about connecting with others and collaborating. Bridgers take the time to understand others’ points of view and concerns. They are active listeners and are often more concerned with the relationship than the outcome. This style may not be effective if you haven’t yet built trust and rapport with the other party.
Ultimately, your success is determined by your ability to influence the people around you – not only the people who work under or beside you, but above you as well. Practicing these influence styles can be the first step to becoming a truly transformational leader and a strong motivator for your team.