Influencing others.

It’s arguably the #1 skill of successful business leaders.

And yet, most of us are not consciously aware of how we impact the opinions, thoughts and behaviours of others.

The Harvard Business Review article ‘What’s Your Influencing Style’ suggests that we naturally default to the same influence tactics time and time again. 

Here’s the interesting part. Their research identified 5 distinct influencing styles. If that’s the case, then it’s possible ‘using only your preferred style has the potential to undermine your influence with as many as four out of five people’.

Yikes. That’s a lot of under-influencing.

No worries. Now that you know, you can prepare yourself to better flex your influence to gain higher impact with colleagues, clients, and customers.

Step # 1: Identify your dominant influencing style. Using the chart below, determine which style you tend to rely on most.

BRAIn Chart Final

Step # 2: Evaluate your influencing style. How often does it work for you? Are you more successful with certain types of people? Why? Be honest with yourself!

Step # 3: Practice. Practice. Practice. Add a new style to your repertoire by actively practising a different style. Different situations may call for different approaches so try out your growing skills in different situations. Try to figure out when it makes sense to switch to another style so that you can be more effective.

Let’s use a personal example to bring this to life.

At a recent strategic business planning meeting I was facilitating, I tried to persuade the leadership team of a medium-sized organization to be more open to taking bolder leaps to grow their business. This was met with strong resistance. “Our current model is working. We don’t have enough resources.”  

Sigh. Shut down with nowhere to go.

At the time, I wasn’t aware of my influencing style. However, after working through the BRAIN theory, I realized that my style preference is Rationalizing. However, in this situation, this team really needed Bridging-Inspiring. 

Note to Self: Identify when an existing style isn’t working and pivot to a more appropriate style!