How to impact behavior without relying on authority
The word “influencer” holds a lot of weight these days. At LifeLabs Learning, we prefer to think about influence as a way to impact behavior without relying on authority — a crucial skill when it comes to making a big impact at work.
Influence shouldn’t be confused with persuasion. Persuasive people can sometimes come off as pushy, or only looking out for themselves. Influential people are people who inspire trust — we want to hear what they have to say. We see influential people managing their own stress and the stress of others every day with expertise, which subconsciously creates trust. You can start flexing your superinfluencer muscle at work by cultivating two fundamental influencer skills: conviction and connection.
Here’s how to use conviction and connection to become more influential:
Step 1: Conviction
Conviction is all about standing up for our beliefs and values. Ultimately, someone with influence is able to do that — without steamrolling or stepping on others in the process.
Try it: First, think about an area of your organizational or team culture or processes you want to be more influential in shaping or changing — for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll say the goal is to have better meetings. Now, better meetings may mean something different to everyone — in this case, we define them as staying consistent with our communication norms and values every time.
At the start, you’ll talk to someone about having better meetings. Your goal will be to use your influence, while not being persuasive. You’ll want to ask yourself some pre-interaction awareness questions to get clear on why you believe these changes are valuable or your conviction behind this goal:
1) What’s important to you about having better meetings?
We already clued you in on why it’s important to us — we want to use meetings as a way to build company culture and continue to push that culture forward. However, this highly subjective concept of “better meetings” may mean something else entirely to you, so get clear on that now.
2) How have you contributed to the problem (in this case, bad meetings) in the past?
Have you been a disengaged bystander that tends to zone out when meetings get bigger? Or, do you have a tendency to steamroll and talk over your colleagues?
3) What are you willing to give up in order to have better meetings?
You may have to give up simply being another attendee and take on a ‘role model’ position and start modeling the behaviors you want to see.
Step 2: Connection
Consider the person you’ll be having the conversation with about conducting better meetings about.
Try it: Ask some pre-interaction awareness questions to prepare for the connection piece of your goal:
1) What do you think is most important to this person when it comes to meetings?
It might vary depending on the person — is it efficiency? Productivity? Keeping it lean? Getting clear on what matters most to them will prepare you to address their concerns.
2) What will they have to give up in order to get better meetings?
They may have to give up some progress or productivity in order to make sure the company culture is being adequately reflected.
3) What will they gain if they do adopt better meetings?
Since most companies have meetings nearly every day, running better meetings will likely lead to your colleagues and direct reports trusting you more as you lead by example.
You can learn even more about superinfluence and essential tipping-point skills by ordering The Leader Lab book now — plus, you’ll score a free ticket to our virtual Office Hours event in October, where you’ll have a chance to sit down with the authors and ask them your toughest management questions!