Whether you are communicating the business value of human resources to the decision makers in your organization, recruiting applicants or working with employees, teams and business partner, you MUST use your expertise to influence others!
There are two mindsets necessary to effectively influence others: impact and responsibility. Impact is the effect you have on other people. When you are aware of your impact on others, you can be more effective in influencing. If you ignore your impact, work toward getting your objectives accomplished regardless of the impact on others, or are interested only in being self-serving, you will struggle to achieve awareness and support.
Responsibility is your willingness to notice the impact you have and to respond in a way that is conscientious and appropriate. Even though everyone is responsible for his or her impact, not everyone takes responsibility for it. People commonly deny responsibility by denying their impact or by blaming others. It is much easier to deny or blame, than it is to take responsibility.
There are three steps to creating your personal influence plan.
Step One: Identify the situation
Influence is not a one-size-fits-all process. It is always situational and individual specific. Ask your self these three questions:
• Who do you want to influence?
• What do they already know?
• What else do you want them to know?
Step Two: Set your influence mindset
Using the concepts of impact and responsibility set your influence mindset. Here are five areas to assist your mindset.
1. Be a psychologist. Be genuinely interested. Listen and hear what they have to say. As Steven Covey writes in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand.”
2. What do they want and need? Do unto others as they would have done unto them. Help them to be successful. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. How will what they want serve what you want?
3. Learn their language. Make the other person feel important by understanding and using their language. One of the complaints I often hear about Human Resource professionals is that “they don’t understand the business need.” Remove the Human Resource terminology and replace with the language of the individual you wish to influence.
4. Praise, gratitude and reinforcement. Praise the slightest improvements. Let them know how their support has helped your initiatives and caused success for them and their business.
5. Be genuine. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Inauthentic behavior will sabotage a relationship in a heartbeat. I was working with an introverted human resource manager who was trying to influence an extremely extroverted business leader. By being genuine and authentic to her introverted style, she could ask questions, develop solutions and create value to this business leader. The balance of styles was appreciated and supported, as she worked to provide effective solutions for the organization.
Step Three: Be patient
Influence happens over time. As you build the relationship, understand your impact and take responsibility for your choices, your influence will grow. Measure progress one step at a time.
Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D., RCC is a leadership development specialist and author of “The Leadership Energy: Unlocking the Secrets to Your Success.” She can be reached through her website, TheLeadershipEnergy.com.