""

Four Keys to Influencing

Published in January 2020.

During the December Supervisory Development webinar, we addressed how you can more effectively use influence to accomplish your goals and mobilize others to get things done. 

There was so much interest in this topic and we ran out of time to answer all of your questions, so this month’s article addresses some of your questions

During the December Supervisory Development webinar, we addressed how you can more effectively use influence to accomplish your goals and mobilize others to get things done. 

There was so much interest in this topic and we ran out of time to answer all of your questions, so this month’s article addresses some of your questions. 

Feature Insight

Four Keys to Influencing 

Influence isn’t about manipulation or brainwashing or “getting your way.” Rather, influence is the ability to affect the actions, decisions, opinions, or thinking of others in order to accomplish goals and desired outcomes. It’s mobilizing others to get things done. 

Accomplishing big goals or moving your ideas forward cannot be done alone. It requires collaboration and effort from your entire team, as well as support from leadership and other stakeholders.

Identifying stakeholders

Consider your stakeholders as anyone who is affected by what you’re trying to accomplish, has power over it, or has an interest in its successful or unsuccessful conclusion.

One way to identify your stakeholders is by thinking about how decisions are made (or unmade) within your college or unit. Are they made by one or two senior leaders and handed down to the rest of the group? Or is it by committee and consensus? 

If decisions are made by committee, pay attention to who is doing the most talking and who is asking critical questions. 

Remember, stakeholders are not always official decision makers. Other stakeholders might include those with close relationships to the decision makers, so pay attention to who your leaders spend time with. Also pay attention to whose name comes up frequently in meetings. That might sound like, “Let’s ask xx,” or “xx might know that.” Those are often the office’s go-to people who likely have a lot of influence over others. 
 

Most Effective Ways to Influence

Each of your stakeholders has their own goals, priorities, perspectives, and concerns. Consider these four tactics to get support or commitment for your ideas or goals and tailor them to your stakeholders. It’s most likely that you will use a combination of some or all of these. 

Rational Persuasion

This tactic requires using fact-based rationale to support your desired course of action. This skill is effective at influencing most people, regardless of their position at the University.

Consider this tactic where there is strong data to support your position and when your audience or stakeholder values facts and data. 

 

 

 

Consultation

Consultation involves asking questions to understand the needs and concerns of your stakeholders. The influence comes in when you offer solutions that align with their needs and concerns as well as your goals. 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational Appeals

When using inspirational appeals, align your ideas and goals with values you share with your stakeholder. Describe your vision for what the future could look like if the work is successful and express excitement and enthusiasm for achieving this vision together. 
 

 

 

 

Coalitions

Coalitions require building relationships. Be proactive in building relationships. You can start by taking an interest in your colleague’s work or hobbies. Find common interests to make connections. Also, identify and build connections as part of how you collaborate, not just during meetings. Then use your relationships with key people who are an expert in the area or who hold leadership positions to get things done.