The following builds on the
approaches highlighted above and illustrate some of the most commonly employed
influencing styles used in normal business life. When reviewing these styles
reflect on your own influencing strategies and consider whether or not you need
to develop or add to your range of styles. In order to be effective we need to
be able to call upon a range of styles and employ them in appropriate circumstances.
In any influencing situation it is the person who possesses the greatest
flexibility in a range of styles who will ultimately succeed. If we get stuck
into one pattern we might win sometimes but we will also have our fair share of
THE CLASSIC RANGE OF STYLES
own position – being assertive.
Intuitive/creative – gut feel,
Logical – the facts.
Supportive – developing a
Clarifying the position of others –
developing an understanding.
Stating your own position – being assertive – the characteristics
Being persistent about your own
needs and requirements.
Declaring your needs and wants.
Stating your rights – “I am
entitled to X”.
Being strong without damaging
Demanding from other people.
I appreciate your point but I must again
request the following…
I want to make it clear to you
that I expect.
I feel you have not understood my position so
let me again reiterate it.
I need to know that you have
ensured the following.
My situation is such that I am not prepared to
accept that response because.
My concern is.
That proposal gives me a problem
because I want to.
Intuitive/creative – the characteristics
Proposing new ideas.
Raising alternative approaches.
Brainstorming radical methods.
Challenging others’ methods,
thinking and assumptions. STATEMENTS
I suggest we tackle this from a
How about looking at the
situation from another perspective.
Here’s a new idea.
What would happen if we did…?
Shouldn’t we really be focusing
I really feel that we should be
looking at some more radical alternatives.
Aren’t we missing the point
here! Surely we need to focus on x not y.!
Logical – the characteristics
Stating the facts – using the
data and evidence.
Keeping things to the point.
Being rational and calm.
Applying logic and analysis.
Evaluating the criteria.
Let’s look at the facts as they
Simply look at the reality of
That is simply not supported by
The evidence does not support
We really need to focus on the
data and the reality of the results.
We should really keep those
judgmental and emotive issues outside of the discussion.
That is not logical.
That idea would never work
Where is your evidence?
How can you justify or support
that argument or approach? I see no evidence for it in the data?
Supportive – the characteristics
Involving and bringing in other
Rewarding others for their
contributions and efforts.
Building on others’ ideas.
Offering positive ideas and
suggestions to build on other contributions.
I understand how you feel.
That’s an excellent idea.
I fully appreciate your
That could prove an important
issue that Max has just mentioned, perhaps we should discuss it in more detail.
I like the way you outlined the
What if we thought about the
point raised by Jean.
I found that a helpful input on
If we also added x to your
suggestion that might also help.
Judgmental – the characteristics
Being overly critical.
Seeing only problems.
That will not work because of.
You seem to have missed several
You have overlooked the problem
We seem to have a major disagreement
This is getting us nowhere – you
are clearly failing to see the problem.
Your analysis is overly
That’s a preposterous idea.
Clarifying others’ positions – the characteristics
Drawing out other people’s
Probing for more information.
Seeking more facts.
Picking up unspoken feelings,
Could you say more about that?
What do you need to say?
Can you give an example?
You sound as though you have
more to say about that issue?
To sum up what you are saying…
Could I check I have fully
understood what you are saying?
It sounds like you really
I sense you are not very pleased
about the issue. Is that true?
Have I understood what you have
said correctly? You are saying the following.
What influencing styles do you use?
Do you have the right range and
balance of styles?
Do you use too much of any
style? What is the consequence of that?
What styles do you find it difficult to deal
with? Why? How could you learn to cope with them?
What other styles do you need to
develop to become more effective?
Generate a list of new influencing statements
or expressions that you could practise using in meetings or in other
influencing type situations.
Using power to influence others – where do you get yours from?
In the corporate world we
normally associate power with the level of executive authority someone
possesses. Yet the authority we get in an organization is not always simply a
function of our position or rank. The fact is that there are many other sources
of authority that we can potentially use to influence colleagues. Consider
which ones you use and ask yourself how would you manage if you lost your
current sources of power tomorrow. How would you get things done?
Hierarchical This is the power you derive based on your position in your management or organization structure. It is the source of power that most people rely on.
Information Power that comes from having information or knowledge that others do not possess – for example your access to specific technical or market knowledge.
Expertise Possessing a particular skill set or range of experiences that others do not.
Reputation. The power you gain from your proven track record and past performance. “They always deliver the results!” “She knows what she is talking about!”
Charisma The magic ingredient – personality, voice, appearance, energy, warmth, presence etc. Often very difficult to define but easy to identify.
Positional This power comes from the unique nature of your role, e.g. being in a key position in a critical communication network – close to the customer or the problem.
Coercive The power to punish and impose sanctions on others. Possibly linked to hierarchical power.
Ineffective managers will tend
to rely on one or two sources of power to get things done, normally
hierarchical and positional. Conversely, effective managers will operate from
several power bases. In an increasingly knowledge-based work environment we
cannot simply rely on the power that comes to us from our position. Increasingly
we see a greater emphasis being placed on expertise and knowledge as the key
sources of influence and power. Consequently we will all need to develop other
sources of power in order to influence people successfully.
To influence someone successfully we need to analyze the situation and the type of person we are dealing with. We need to reflect on the level of authority people possess and their desired aims and objectives as well as our own. We then have to be able to employ a range of influencing styles based on our interpretation of all these factors. In so doing we have to avoid falling into the trap of relying on one approach and so antagonizing the other person. Only by being aware of our own natural preferences and the alternative approaches is it possible to identify and select the most effective strategy to influence others. Ultimately it is all about the words we use and how we say them.