Monday, 29 March 2010

Leadership Pathways: Effective Influencing Skills Workshop

For me, the Effective Influencing skills workshop was the best part of the whole course so far. It's just a shame that I only had the chance to take it two weeks before the whole course finishes!

The idea that there are many different ways to influence others is something that I just hadn't even considered before.

The workshop made me aware of the different ways that I work currently and the ways that I want to work in the future.

We began by hearing about the three different levels of influence - rational, emotional and political. These different influences have different effects on different people and do not necessarily work on every person and in every situation. But, in an ideal work, to have complete influence over everybody, you need to be in to middle, using all three levels of influence.

We were introduce to nine different styles of influencing.
  • Value-driven style
  • Goal-driven style
  • Need-fulfilment style
  • Visioning style
  • Rational style
  • Pushing style
  • Institutionalising style
  • Educating style
  • Supporting style
These are all push or pull (or both) styles of influencing. Push behaviours are rational, assertive and explicit.  (Energy comes from you to make others have to change.) Pull behaviours are emtional, involve listening to others and being open. (Energy comes from others because you have made them want to change.) Overuse of each type can be counter-productive so it is important to find a balance.

I have always believed myself to be a 'puller' - someone who makes people want to change, but after taking an auditing exercise I believe I have become more of a 'pusher'. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, I know now that I need to be more aware of the influences I use.

Force-field analysis is 'a strategic approach to influencing situations at work'. It analyses and prioritises the driving and restraining forces. More information is available here.

There are always pros and cons to a decision – nothing is ever that simple! The secret of good decision-making is figuring out whether the pros outweigh the cons BEFORE you take action. With force field analysis, you list and score the factors for and against a decision, total the scores and see which comes up best.

If it's a close call and the decision for or against is not clear, you can add an extra step. Review the factors affecting the decision and create an action plan to increase the “fors” and decrease the “againsts”. Simply repeat the force field analysis with the new conditions and your decision will be clear.
I found the idea fascinating. I can use this idea to consider any change I wish to make before I introduce it to staff to see how successful it could be. At any stage in the change process it can be used to evaluate the success of the project.
The ideas in this workshop actually link up well with the stakeholder analysis in the Leading Through Influence online unit.

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