Influencing Others

The Islander – February 2021

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Collaboration – achieving a win:win

Influencing Others

Influencing others has to do with getting someone else to be receptive to your views, advice and recommendations. It is not about getting them to admit you are right, nor is it controlling someone’s behaviour.  One definition of influencing is “The ability to bring others to your way of thinking”.

Attempting to change others is a fruitless exercise and is usually resisted. Ultimately, you cannot change other people, but you can be a positive influence by opening their minds to constructive attitudes and effective courses of action. Great leaders are followed because they lead a way that also appeals to those who follow them. Think of  Martin Luther King Jr’s dream, no one was told that they had to congregate at Lincoln’s Memorial in Washington on 28th August 1963. Yet many thousands of people did, and it is alleged they included future presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Leaders not only need to manage their team, they are also responsible for managing upwards. Many relatively new senior crew do not appreciate that one of their prime tasks is to manage and influence those senior to them, including owners and management.  Typically we think of managing as being about managing downwards.  In fact it is just as important to manage upwards too. Sometimes those above you are too removed from the day to day realities of the work you and your team do, or the pressures above them are passed on down. It is vital that leaders are able to construct a persuasive ‘communication’.

Some people seem to naturally have that persuasive nature, but there is a science to influencing others. This process can help you achieve the successful outcome you are looking for.


  1. Identify outcome/goal

Start with the outcome in mind! Be as specific and detailed as you can be and have a clear focus of what your goal looks like. What and who are you trying to influence


  1. Look at the big picture

Analysis of the situation, based on what has happened to date and prediction of future events. What will happen if nothing changes, or if you are unable to influence the other person. This needs to be not just from your own perspective, but theirs too.


  1. Identify who can help you

Identify the individuals who may be able to help and support you. Who is with you already? This is not about causing a rebellion, rather understanding what drives others to your point of view.


  1. Understand the individual

It is much easier to influence someone we know well, so think about the individual, what makes them tick. When is the best time to catch them, ideally face to face. What about where – somewhere formal or over a beer?


  1. Find the right strategy

Identify the different possible strategies to use and then choose the specific influencing strategy that is most appropriately matched to the individual(s) involved and your goal.


These can be of either the ‘push’ style:-

  • Sanctions & threats – outlining potential consequences
  • Using authority – using the chain of command and power
  • Being assertive – making clear statements of your wants


How will the other person feel after you have attempted to influence them, using the above styles? Perhaps not so great. However, if this is a time as well as safety critical issue, you may have little choice.


Alternatively, the ‘pull’ style could be used:-

  • Understanding issues – asking questions and listening, using a bargaining approach
  • Reasoning – providing a logical and reasoned argument
  • Building relationships – using your friendship and understanding of the other person, appealing to their better nature
  • Collaboration – achieving a win:win to meet both parties’ needs, through discussion and exploration. Often this can include arriving at solutions which neither party had previously considered


Effective leaders are adept at influencing others by being patient and persistent. Their success is a function of three key sub-skills.  By connecting with others, influential people establish a genuine rapport with those they are trying to influence.  Influential people take time to assess the other person’s needs by finding out their viewpoints, needs, concerns and problems.  In other words being a great listener. Finally, they use this knowledge to make a persuasive communication that appeals to the needs of others so that they can see the benefits for themselves.

It takes time and preparation, but like most things in life, it also requires practice! Impact Crew is here to help you with your leadership journey – we can work with you and your senior crew on board, or through remote 1:1 coaching. Call Impact Crew and find out how we can support you.