The Power Of Influence - October Health

October Blog posted in Business

The power of influence

In a world where social media has given rise to a new breed of influencers, it's essential to go beyond the surface and understand the true essence of influence. Being able to establish and leverage influence is a valuable skill that can bring about positive change in both your personal and professional life. Let’s explore what influence means, why it is important, and how you can build and utilise it effectively.

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Influence can be defined as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something. It goes beyond merely convincing people to agree with your ideas. Being a person of influence means that others respect and support your thoughts, suggestions, and proposals, enabling you to achieve your desired goals and outcomes.

Influence plays a vital role in various aspects of life, including relationships, leadership, teamwork, and decision-making. When people trust and respect you, they are more likely to listen to your perspectives, collaborate with you, and align their actions with your objectives. It creates an environment conducive to growth, productivity, and positive change. However, establishing influence can be challenging when dealing with skeptical, disengaged, or distrusting individuals.

Trust forms the foundation of influence. To gain the trust of others, consider the following trust-building actions:

  1. Be ethical: Practice integrity by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
  2. Avoid gossip: Refrain from spreading rumors or engaging in negative conversations about others.
  3. Listen attentively: Actively listen to others and value their opinions.
  4. Embrace humility: Acknowledge your fallibility and admit when you are wrong.
  5. Value others: Allow others to be seen, heard, and appreciated.
  6. Show empathy: Understand and relate to the feelings and perspectives of others.
  7. Foster interaction: Engage with individuals at different levels and create meaningful connections.
  8. Communicate effectively: Express yourself clearly, concisely, and consistently.
  9. Emotional maturity: Develop resilience and pace yourself to avoid burnout.
  10. Know yourself: Understand your strengths and weaknesses to build self-awareness.
  11. Know your audience: Tailor your communication and actions to resonate with different individuals.

To establish influence, put the trust-building practices into consistent action. Additionally, focus on the following strategies:

  1. Build relationships: Show genuine interest in people and value them as individuals and colleagues.
  2. Remain open-minded: Embrace flexibility and consider alternative approaches.
  3. Cultivate curiosity: Maintain a genuine desire to learn about people, ideas, and emerging opportunities.
  4. Maintain consistency: Be steady and take others along the journey, enabling them to see themselves as part of the bigger picture.
  5. Follow through: Finish what you start, demonstrating reliability and commitment.

When aiming to influence others, consider employing various tactics depending on your audience. Here are nine influence tactics identified in a McKinsey report titled "When Execution isn't enough":

  1. Requesting: Making direct statements to gain commitment or action.
  2. Legitimizing: Using authority or credentials to influence.
  3. Coalition-building: Enlisting others to help you influence.
  4. Rational persuasion: Utilizing data, analytics, and facts to support your arguments.
  5. Socializing: Providing rewards or praise before making requests.
  6. Personal appeals: Leveraging friendships or relationships to make requests.
  7. Exchanging: Offering something in return for support or cooperation.
  8. Consultation: Seeking input and opinions from others.
  9. Inspirational appeals: Appealing to people's values and ideals.

Once you initiate an influence campaign, people may respond in three ways:

  1. Commitment: These individuals are fully engaged and willing to go above and beyond to support your cause.
  2. Compliance: People in this category will fulfill their duties but may not go beyond the minimum requirements.
  3. Resistance: Some individuals may resist, push back, or create obstacles.

To start building influence, consider the following steps:

  1. Establish credibility: Build a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability.
  2. Create shared value: Articulate how your goals align with the interests of others.
  3. Provide evidence: Support your arguments with relevant and compelling information.
  4. Establish a connection: Emotionally engage others by connecting them to a purpose or meaningful vision.
  5. Embrace accountability: Welcome feedback, anticipate resistance, and learn from others.
  6. Mind your language: Be aware of verbal and non-verbal communication cues to convey confidence.
  7. Develop expertise: Continuously enhance your knowledge and professionalism.

Influence is a powerful force that can shape opinions, decisions, behaviors, and even broader aspects like policies and collaborations. By establishing trust, building relationships, and employing effective influence tactics, you can become a person of influence in both your personal and professional life. Remember, the key to successful leadership lies in influence, not authority. So, embrace the power of influence and leverage it to create positive change and achieve your desired outcomes. 

Join us every Monday night in the Forest at 8pm for our weekly series devoted to finding & maintaining that elusive work-life balance. Remember, if you can't find a topic you're looking for in this series, there are Forest sessions on a variety of topics 7-days a week, 14-hours a day.

Posted by Khwezi Mabunda


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