Influence has become a critical business tool in the current work environment. Many people are hired because of their unique skill sets and experiences – they have attended particular schools, worked at certain companies, held specific positions or taken unique classes that have allowed them to excel at their jobs. However, those skill sets and experiences can only get a person so far. Successful business leaders and managers also need the interpersonal skills that allow them to make the most out of the tools in their possession.
These interpersonal and communication skills often form the basis of influence in the workplace and help separate effective leaders and managers from ineffective ones. Business leaders with the power of influence are often able to communicate in ways that make the other person in the relationship feel comfortable and at ease. Instead of telling people to do things through orders, influencers are able to accomplish critical tasks and goals in a way that makes everyone involved feel satisfied with the conclusion. So, why is influence so important in the workplace? Here are some sticky situations that could be remedied by a key influencer:
1. Having trouble getting buy-ins on new programs or initiatives
Change is good for most businesses, it helps them stay competitive and progressive. However, whenever new programs or initiatives are suggested, they need to be approved by those in charge. Without the proper support, approval may be slow or sluggish.
An influencer makes for the perfect champion of particular ideas or programs. They will be able to gain the support of their peers and identify reasons why certain initiatives can be beneficial to the company as a whole. A savvy influencer is crucial for companies trying to push for change and create a culture that supports forward-thinking.
2. Getting the appropriate resources to do the job
Another common problem that is often encountered when trying to get buy-in for new initiatives is the inability to get the appropriate resources to execute them effectively. Whether it is the lack of financial backing, manpower, equipment or time, the lack of resources can be a serious hindrance to the implementation of any new program.
Influence can be used to help leaders communicate why they need the resources required by the project and why those resources won't go to waste. In turn, this can help the company be more successful if the program itself is worth supporting.
3. Mediating discussions
Conflicts will happen in the workplace – one person thinks their approach is correct, while the other believes theirs is more viable. Or perhaps one person has a problem with a task or coworker but is too shy to speak about the problem. A savvy influencer can listen actively and establish a solution that will benefit everyone involved.
To that end, it is pivotal that companies invest in the coaching and training that will help their leaders develop better influencing skills.