As Kenneth Blanchard has said, the key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.
This is especially true in the absence of clear authority, which is often the case within a matrix structure or a team that crosses organizational boundaries.
So how can you convince others to buy into your ideas and collaborate for the good of the team when you don’t have that authority?
Certain influencing tactics are more effective than others, but it’s not enough to simply know what they are. The best leaders know when and how to use them well.
In a recent webinar, I talked about which four influencing tactics are most powerful and how to make the most of them.
We also discussed eight tips for influencing others that will help you achieve results.
Here are five of them.
Demonstrate Your Credibility and Track Record
In the absence of authority, people tend to listen to the most credible person in the room. Although expertise is part of credibility, the most important aspect is the extent to which people believe you speak the truth. Do you provide a balanced argument, and are you willing to admit what you don’t know?
Find Champions For Your Cause
Who are the people you’re counting on most to accomplish objectives within your team? Start by identifying those whose cooperation you need to support implementation, and get to know them. What do they need to succeed? What do they care about most? Once you understand what motivates them, you can begin to work toward getting their buy-in so they can help you convince others.
Don’t Overly Rely on Reasoning
Reasoning is the most commonly used influencing tactic, but it doesn’t work in every situation, particularly if goals are not aligned or you lack credibility in a particular area. Be prepared to use a variety of approaches to ensure you use the best combination of influence behaviors in each situation.
Translate Facts and Figures Into Benefits
Before you pull up another graph of projected revenue from your latest initiative, ask yourself why it matters to the team. Will this new effort translate into bonuses if successful? Will it prove your team is capable of successfully taking on a competitor?
People aren’t motivated to act based on facts alone; they need to understand what’s in it for them.
Open Up a Dialogue
No one wants to feel like they’re being pitched. The best form of influence is subtle and occurs as the result of an ongoing conversation. While talking with your team, be sure to ask questions and hear their concerns. Show empathy by actively listening, nodding and paraphrasing what they’ve shared.
Influence is an art form every successful leader must master. It’s a skill that must be learned and honed over time. As a leading organizational consulting firm, we offer assessments and training to help leaders become more effective influencers and teams work together more effectively.
This article was written originally posted here. It was reprinted with permission from the author.
A virtual team expert with more than 30 years experience and a proven track record as a human resource consultant and executive, Rick Lepsinger is the president of OnPoint Consulting. He is the co-author of several books on leadership and organizational effectiveness, including Closing the Execution Gap: How Great Leaders and Their Companies Get Results and Virtual Team Success: A Practical Guide for Working and Leading from a Distance. Rick currently sits on the faculty of GE’s Management Development Course (MDC) and leads the program, Making GE’s Global Matrix Work.
Rick and HRDQ-U are hosting a free webinar on October 21st at 2PM. Sign up for it now!