“It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good,” – Thomas Jefferson

Influencing Overview

Influencing is getting followers to do what you want them to do, believing what you want them to believe or thinking as you want them to think. Influencing is at the heart of leadership. Author Terry Bacon has said, “despots coerce, managers control, and leaders influence.”

Why Influencing is Important to a Leader

Leaders are constantly influencing others. Followers are influenced to do what needs to be done, to think a certain way, or support what the leader desires to achieve . There are ethical influencing tactics that the leader can use to get the team to perform and there are unethical influencing tactiLeadership influencing skillscs that border on coercion and may have short-term benefits but be a disaster in the long term. Those leaders that understand the different influencing tactics and which tactic works best for specific people tend to have the most success at uniting their team in achieving te best results.

Elections are an excellent example of influencing. Candidates want you to think like them (beliefs) and also to contribute money (taking an action). They try to use multiple tactics to attempt to influence a broad spectrum of people. The leader who is successful at influencing, wins elections.

Benefits for the Leader

Effective influencing skills expands the leader’s power base and results. Leaders that utilize effective influencing skills become more adept at learning what tactics work with their team members. Ethical influencing builds respect for the leader and gets positive results.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Influencing
  1. List your peer leaders and team members. Identify what motivates each. How can you use this understanding when you need to influence them?
  2. When faced with your next decision or initiative, consider what would be a winning solution for each stakeholder (including you). How can you use this information to influence others?
  3. Be cautious to never use negative influencing tactics such as avoidance, manipulation, threats, or intimidation. These behaviors damage credibility, relationships, and the organizational culture.
Measure and Improve Your Influencing Skills

Be determined to improve in influencing! Take the short influencing self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your influencing skills. Then get the coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 6 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you fine-tune your influencing skills and behaviors.

Related Competencies:



Measure your influencing skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your influencing skills.


Recommended Influencing Books:

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