HOW TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE AT WORK

How to influence people at work. The top 10 skills, abilities and ways to influence colleagues, co-workers and employees and get things done the way you want them. 

By Mau, a Leadership specialist and marketer at eDigital.

HOW TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE AT WORK

THE TOP 10 SKILLS, ABILITIES AND WAYS TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE AT WORK

Find below the top 10 skills, abilities and ways to influence people at work. Learn how to influence colleagues, co-workers and employees with our top tips below.

After many years working with teams, I have noticed and taken note that there is a unique set of interactions that lead people to:

  • agree
  • take charge (lead)
  • change
  • comply (obey)
  • concede (admit unwillingly that something is true)

But how can you do it?

Ok…

You are now ready to read my secret tips on how you can influence your employees, colleagues/co-workers and pretty much anyone.

My below top 10 tips on how to influence people apply to a limited set of fundamental human drives and needs and it does so in predictable ways. 

10. LET PEOPLE BRING BETTER, MORE EFFECTIVE/EFFICIENT WAYS TO GET THINGS DONE

A leader generally challenges the process and is a critical thinker.

With many teams working from home or virtually, we’re re-writing the process for communicating, collaborating and effectively completing our work.

Great leaders “Doubt the Default”thinking past the default option of workspaces, 1:1s and meetings and are looking for ways to get their teams more efficient and effective. 

A leader searches for opportunities to change and improve the status quo at her/his organisation.

Leaders who challenge the process are constantly seeking innovative ways to improve through experimenting and taking risks, then learning from any mistakes or failures along the way.

Fantastic leaders take the initiative to doubt the default and look for a better option.

They’re continually pushing for the better by refining and testing ideas without fearing failure.

Ultimately, it comes down to refusing to be satisfied with what’s always been done.

Leaders aren’t just content with the status quo, they are inventing and reinventing—even when they make a mistake or an idea doesn’t end how they hoped, it’s a lesson and a learning opportunity.

how to get things done faster get rid of dumb meetings

how to get things done faster get rid of dumb meetings

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9. BE COURAGEOUS

An influential person is inspirational.

That isn’t their ambition.

It’s simply a positive by-product of their character and powerful work ethic.

To influence people you need to show you can tackle problems head-on instead of running away.

You may not know the outcome but will still stand up to problems wherever they arise.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid.

Fear is natural when facing the unknown.

Conquering fear and moving forward to face it and tackle the problems ahead is what takes real courage.

People will not follow advice, suggestions or ideas from a coward.

Great influencers aren’t cowards.

It can be uncomfortable to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done, especially when it involves risk to yourself.

Being afraid of what others think is common, but it is not going to help you influence others.

To become great at influencing colleagues you need to be brave and your courage is what changes things for the better.

Courageous leadership benefits yourself and everyone around you, from your team to your colleagues and your managers.

The only way to create change in yourself and your organisation is by demonstrating courageous influential skills and abilities.

It’s how you influence others by leading by example and creating the trust necessary to form positive relationships.

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8. BECOME A COMMANDER

Finally, people who take the responsibility to command are more likely to influence others.

However, respect for commanding is earned.

When commanding is delivered with integrity, openness and empathy, you earn the trust, appreciation and respect of those you want to influence. 

And remember, just because you are in the driver’s seat, it does not mean, you are going to run over pedestrians. 

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7. BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR VISION AND EXPRESS IT CLEARLY

A confident leader maintains the same demeanour whether things are going well or everything around them is crumbling.

Leaders who can maintain consistent outward behaviour inspire far more confidence in their teams than leaders who noticeably panic.

People readily follow leaders who can clearly explain what they want and expect through written, spoken, and non-verbal communication avenues.

To become great at influencing people you need to be able to connect with people through clear and honest communication.

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6. OFFER UNIQUE & EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS, OPPORTUNITIES AND/OR INFORMATION

Things, people and opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.

Think of the latest custom version of the most luxurious car model, a celebrity you will die to meet in person or a job promotion you have been dreaming about for a long time. 

You can take advantage of this scarcity concept by designing a one-of-a-kind, limited-supply benefit or opportunity for a specific time.

I know what you are thinking:

So, how do I communicate a benefit/opportunity?

You can use the “loss language” or the “gain language”.

The “loss language” refers to when you communicate the loss if people do not act on the unique or exclusive opportunity.

The “gain language” promotes the benefit if people act on the unique or exclusive opportunity.

Some studies show the “loss language” weighs more heavily in people’s decision-making than the “gain language” (3).

Offering exclusive information can influence someone to act on a task or activity you want them to complete. 

An example…

You are a sales manager who has exclusive access to data that confirms a new product development has the potential to double your company’s sales targets.

You pass that exclusive information to the board and they will likely review the opportunity and act on it. 

You can use phrases such as:

  • This is the report that bla bla bla. and no one else has this information yet.
  • I just got this document today. It will not be shared with everyone until next week but this is a sneak peek at what it shows. 

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5. SHOW YOUR EXPERTISE

Expose your expertise, do not assume it is self-evident. 

Because of the complexity of modern life, people are open to listening to an expert who can offer a valuable and effective shortcut to great decisions. 

So many questions in your mind need specialised knowledge to be answered. 

That’s why you are reading this article. 

You trust my expertise in the topic to help you become better at influencing people, others or your team.

Sometimes, people mistakenly assume that others recognise and appreciate their expertise. 

You may display all the diplomas, awards and certifications in your office or workplace. 

It would be best if you did more than that.

You may need to spend time socially with your team to win their heart.

Social gatherings with your team are also an opportunity to establish your expertise through informal chats about any issue or challenge at work or the many times you have failed to master a complex discipline. 

When onboarding new team members, you can also touch lightly on your relevant background and experience.

This will give you a chance to establish your expertise early and when business meetings arrive, your ideas and opinions will receive the respect it deserves. 

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4. MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEES’ COMMITMENTS ACTIVE, PUBLIC AND VOLUNTARILY

Leaders need to follow through with what they agree to do.

Real leaders are willing to put in the extra hours to complete an assignment.

Employees will see this commitment and follow their example.

A leader cannot expect employees to commit to their jobs and their tasks if he or she cannot do the same.

A leader who publicly displays a commitment to a project or team – and the overall organisation – is more likely to gain the trust of their team members.

No one likes to work for a non-committed leader or in a non-committed team.

A voluntary commitment shown by a leader will help foster a team spirit that will differentiate an outstanding team from a mediocre one.

A leader’s tenacity and commitment could well be the difference between success and failure when a team runs into problems.

Importantly, showing commitment keeps the team’s morale high.

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3. USE PEER POWER

Whenever it is available, you can use peer power

Influence can be effective when it comes from peers.

An example…

You are the boss and you are trying to convince some old employees to use a new system.

You do not want to be the one presenting the system and the benefits and how to use it. Y

ou may want to select one old person who supports the new system and train this person to present and train the other old employees. 

As this person shares similar age and limitations to other old employees, getting them to use the new system will become an easier task.

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2. GIVE WHAT YOU WANT TO RECEIVE

Generally, if someone smiles at you, you smile back. 

That’s the essence of reciprocity

No wonder why suppliers love to send gifts to their clients. 

Because they will increase their chances their clients keep purchasing their products and services. 

Gifting your team members may work a bit but there are far better ways to offer what you want to receive.

An example…

Bosses who manage their subordinates with dignity and respect are likely to be treated the same way and get the commitment they want from their employees. 

Whether is a sense of collaboration, a spirit of trust or a pleasant manner, leaders should model the behaviour they want to see from others. 

If you want to influence people, you also need to make room for people to share their ideas and opinions about your work and decisions.

When people stop offering their ideas and opinions because of fear of being shot down, it will be harder for leaders to influence them.

Leaders know offering help works wonders.

But this does not mean making them dependent on them.

What you want is to give your team members the right tools, time and resources for them to independently complete the tasks assigned. 

Once they thank you for your support, you could say:

“You are welcome, I know how important it is for me to count on your help when I need it”

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1. PEOPLE LIKE THOSE WHO LIKE THEM

It becomes easier to influence others if you honestly like the work they produce. 

There are two ways you can get closer to like your team members so you can influence them.

  • Uncover real similarities: If you have worked in sales or marketing you know this. Potential buyers are more willing to purchase from a salesperson who is similar in age, religion, politics, hobbies or even coffee-drinking habits. You can use real similarities to create bonds with your team members. Informal conversations are a great opportunity to discover similarities. The earlier you can discover similarities the faster you can build feelings of cooperation, collaboration, honesty and trustworthiness. More informal conversation breaks the fear of saying the wrong thing. 
  • Offer genuine praise. Some behavioural scientists talk about genuine praise as one of the top drivers of affection as it can both charm and disarms anyone. Now the question is: does the praise have to be merited? Not necessarily, according to research (1). In a work environment, you can praise a person’s trait, attitude or performance you admire. According to another research (2), genuine praise generates liking in return and willingness to comply with the wishes or opinions of the person offering the praise.

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IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENTIAL SKILLS

Influential skills are crucial and essential for success in any career.

Effective influential skills and abilities can have a massive impact on individuals, teams, and organisations, and can make the difference between success and failure.

The top 5 reasons for influential skills:

  1. Inspire and motivate your team: Professionals who can influence others can inspire and motivate their team members, which leads to increased productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. When team members are motivated, they are more likely to work harder and achieve their goals.
  2. Encourage innovation within your team: Executives who have the skills to influence employees find creative ways to encourage innovation and creativity which drives the development of new ideas leading to improved processes and products.
  3. Build trust and respect: Influential leaders can build trust and respect by communicating openly and honestly, being transparent and showing empathy and understanding.
  4. Make better decisions: People who have successfully developed the top abilities to influence co-workers possess decision-making skills that help their teams resolve complex problems and make sound decisions. They can weigh different options and evaluate risks effectively to make informed decisions that benefit their organisations. 
  5. Develop future leaders: People who know how to sway the undecided and convert the opposition can also develop the future leaders of their organisations. By mentoring and coaching their team members, they can help build a strong pipeline of talent to ensure the organisation’s long-term success.

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CONCLUSION

These 10 concepts of how to influence people at work have been explained separately to make them easy to understand and clear. However, they can also be applied in combination to increase their impact. 

For example, when you talk to colleagues about your expertise in social gatherings, you should also make time to listen to others’ experiences and find genuine similarities and common interests. By understanding others’ achievements you also have the opportunity to give sincere compliments. 

In this example, by communicating your expertise and also building rapport by acknowledging other’s achievements you are doubling your influencing power. 

If you have enjoyed these 10 concepts, I would love it if you could send this article to someone you believe can build their influencing skills.

Need influential skills training? Contact us today!

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References:

  1. Researchers at the University of North Carolina wrote in the Journal of Experimental Social Physiology. 
  2. Interpersonal attraction (Addison-Wesley, 1978) book. Ellen Berscheid – Elaine Hatfield
  3. Harnessing the science of persuasion. Robert b. Cialdini. Harvard Business Review. 

HOW TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE AT WORK

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