How Influential Are You?

The ability to influence others is an important currency at work and at home. Whether we’re persuading our six year old to eat her vegetables, our boss to consider our idea or those who report to us to take on a new challenge, influencing others is something that’s part of every day life.

It’s no surprise that successful leaders are viewed as high influencers. But the folks at point out that as organizational structures flatten out, everyone up and down the ladder should sharpen their persuasion skills.

The first step is finding out how influential you consider yourself right now. Mindtools’ quiz, based on Dr. Tim Baker’s Four Strategies of Influence, can help you find your baseline. It can also shed light on your influence style. In other words, are you an investigator, collaborator, calculator or motivator?

>> Link to Mindtools “How Good Of An Influencer Are You” quiz. <<

Influence Strategies & Styles

Mastering the art of influencing others is important in all aspects of our lives. But there are different ways to persuade. Executive Coach Dr. Tim Baker breaks the methods we use to influence into four categories.

  • Investigators use facts and figures to form a convincing argument. They collect background and task-related data to back up their position.
  • Calculators use logic to influence. Good debaters use this strategy, but only after teasing out all the pros and cons in an effort to hone their message.
  • Motivators use emotion and the big picture to communicate vision. They connect easily with others, speaking to their hearts rather than only their heads.
  • The collaborator involves people in decision-making
  • They build a team of allies that function as their support base and use some of the motivator’s techniques to win over their hearts.

>> To test your influence-ability with this Mindtool’s quiz. <<

How to Influence Others Regardless of the Relationship

No matter where you are in a company’s hierarchy, there are times when you must influence others – even if your title and position don’t automatically carry authority. The key to your success may be in using the Cohen-Bradford Influence Model.

Named after the authors of “Influence without Authority,” here are the six steps they recommend using to gain support when facing resistance, or when you have a difficult or non-existent relationship with the person from whom you need help.

  • Assume that everyone can help you. Don’t count anyone out because of your current relationship status.
  • Prioritize your objectives.
  • Understand the other person’s situation and priorities?
  • Identify what matters to each of you. What motivates the two of you? Meaningful work? Completing tasks? Recognition or belonging?
  • Analyze the relationship. Is it a good one, or do you need to build trust?
  • Once on solid ground, have the exchange. Genuinely offer your support in exchange for theirs.