Andrea asks: I am not in a formal position of power but lead several cross-functional projects and collaboration is critical to our goals. How can I develop more leadership influence?
Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:
You are smart to be thinking about developing leadership influence skills, even as an informal leader. Cross-functional initiatives, flatter management structures and virtual teams which sometimes include third parties have become the norm in business today. Understanding how to influence others is a skill that when honed, serves company goals and your career.
Here are 3 tips:
- Consult and Pre-Sell. Meet with stakeholders to share your ideas on achieving a desired outcome. Solicit their reactions and ideas as well. By inviting input and balancing it with advocacy, resistance can be minimized while gaining buy-in.
- Know Your Audience, Tailor the Message. Develop clear and compelling messages rooted in short and long-term requirements. Research your stakeholders’ needs and tailor the message based on their interests.
- Establish Behavioral Rapport. Match the pace and volume of your speech with that of your stakeholder. Avoid matching negative emotional states. Be conscious of your body language, including posture and facial expressions, as unintended non-verbal cues can undermine effective communication of your message.
- Read: Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Mutual Understanding in the Workplace, by L. Marshall and L. Freedman
- Inquire about our workshop: Master the Skills of Influence