This post was written by our Director of Behavioural Learning and Head of our Perform division, Roger Ayres.
I had a boss who didn’t like to be told his way wasn’t the only way. Instead, he liked to be seen as the expert. I tried many times to convince him by preparing a cost-benefit analysis or a rational business case. He was unmoved.
Eventually, I figured it out. All I had to do was ask his advice first, allow him the space to speak his mind and then summarize and synthesise what he had said. Then I could steer him in the direction I needed to make a change. My experience is common. Influencing others, whatever their relative status to you, is a dance – sometimes you need to tread lightly and circuitously, other times more directly and in a more sure-footed manner. By developing a range of Influencing and negotiation skills, you can be more successful more often. So if you want to get someone excited about an opportunity or a project you may have to inject some passion into your communication and create a vivid description of what the future looks like that relates to them. You may have to work in forensic detail because you know your stakeholder loves a spreadsheet. You may have to be very clear and very succinct. Or you may have to really pay attention and explore what is really going on for the other side. For more on developing your Influencing Skills, you can contact me directly on LinkedIn @Roger Ayres or visit our Perform page.