How to Improve your Ability to Influence your Team

How to Improve your Ability to Influence your Team

The ability to positively influence your team is a valuable asset to have. In this article, we will be looking at ways to improve your influencing skills.

Looking at the Situation from the Team Member’s Perspective

The first step towards influencing other people is setting aside your own point of view, and looking at the situation from the other person’s perspective. Each person sees the world in their own unique way. Do not assume what is clear to you is clear to another person.

To influence your team you have to know what is important to them; what are their interests, values and preferences. Do they have strong feelings against what you are suggesting? What would it take to get them over their resistance? Seeing the situation from your team member’s perspective involves research, active listening and keen observation.

Building a Bridge

Bridge building is another skill that can help you influence your team members. Bridge building is the process of increasing rapport and affinity between people. It involves gaining the trust of your team, identifying common interest and making them feel at ease talking to you. Bridge building is extremely helpful in persuasion as people are more likely to agree with someone they like and trust. Bridges also serve as negotiating grounds, and common interests can be the foundation of win-win scenarios.

The following are some methods you can use to build bridges with your team members:

  • Active Listening – It is important to listen attentively to your team members in order to gain their trust and communicate to them that you value their presence.
  • Use Common Language – Pay attention to how the other person talks to you, if they are formal, be formal, and if they are casual, then you can be less formal as well.
  • Highlight Similarities – If you are looking to influence and persuade a person, it is important emphasize areas of common interest.
  • Sustained Communication – If you experience significant resistance or marked differences between you and a team member, it is important to persistently meet with the person and keep the communication lines open.

Giving in Without Giving Up

You must be willing to make some concessions if you want to improve your chance of influencing your team members.  Concession may simply be agreeing to differ, agreeing that the other person has a right to their opinion or agreeing that the other person has made a reasonable argument. You want your relationship with your team to be collaborative rather than confrontational.  It may be necessary to take losses in areas where you can afford to give up, as long as you do not lose sight of the main goal. Concessions communicate a sincere desire to do what is the best for another person. It is important though to carefully choose what you will concede. Judge what you can sacrifice based on the main goal. The ideal is to create a win-win compromise between what you want and what the team members like.

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