4 Tips for Influencing Teams
“Effective influencers have a good set of communication behaviors and know how and when to use them. They strategize which to use based on their assessment and the result they want. They are flexible in developing an approach and responding in the moment.” —- 20 minutes to a Top Performer – by Alan Vengel.
As an influencer, you assert your needs and make specific suggestions to others about how they can meet your needs. Influence is not manipulation. These behaviors should not be exercised aggressively, or else the team or group you’re seeking to influence may resist or withdraw. Below are four specific do’s of effective group influence.
Knowledge beforehand is essential to efficient planning. In order to influence the individuals in the group, you must target each of them before the meeting takes place.
1. Mentally separate the group. Think of the group as a collection of individuals, each of them having opinions and issues that you must seek to understand in order to influence them. Put yourself in each team member’s shoes and make some assumptions about what their main concerns might be so that you can create a strategy.
2. Make desired results clear. From the group’s first meeting, let them know what you expect the team to accomplish. Create a vision for the group by presenting a clear picture of future success. This can play a key role in your ability to influence them.
3. Ask open-ended, focused questions. Your goal should be inclusiveness and rapport building with everyone in the group. Without being passive or giving a lot of ground, ask how, what, where and why questions that drill down, focusing on one particular issue or statement.
4. Create a brainstorming atmosphere. Let the group know that they will need to create and explore many options and that you are open to hearing their ideas. Motivate the group by establishing ground rules for brainstorming and for how the group will listen to each other in order to promote open thinking. And vote when appropriate. Votes should be private because when individuals must publicly take a stand, they’ll naturally feel more defensive. Always vote only when there are a number of options on the table. Before the vote, keep people open and thinking about possibilities, rather than just giving them two choices: this or that.
These tips will help you to be an effective influencer and to prepare you for the unique challenges you’re likely to experience when you seek to lead teams and groups.
What are your biggest challenges when leading a group or team? What tactics have worked for you?