Know Thyself

Influence is all about our behavior…period. Therefore, the more you understand about how your behavior impacts others, the more focused you can be in setting and working toward achieving personal learning goals and other desired outcomes. So how do you explore this area for yourself?  At SMS, we use a 360-degree influence style assessment tool. This tool helps people understand how their actions impact others, regardless of their intent, when using the behaviors associated with any of the four Influence Styles. Once you know the impact you are having on someone, you are better able to influence that person, especially in a difficult relationship. This, in and of itself, will naturally begin healing that relationship.  Remember, influence is the behavior you use to achieve your objectives while building/maintaining critical relationships. Additionally, pay attention to how you are thinking in any given situation. Our thought patterns can either support us or sink us! So, if you are anticipating a challenging meeting, in addition to planning your strategy and approach, do what works for you to become fully present with a positive mindset.

Know Thy Neighbor

When you are trying to influence someone else, knowing what is important to them is crucial. Why?  Let’s think about the 360-degree influence style assessment tool.  The idea is to understand the impact you are having on other people, and use that information to practice and use the Influence Styles to improve relationships.  Therefore, if you receive feedback from someone who feels you don’t give solid reasons to back up your proposals, you need to understand why. In most cases it is because the reasons you give are built around what is important to you, not to them.  Therefore, knowing what is important to someone can help you be more effective in persuading them. Also, attend to your thought patterns when it comes to other people, especially those that are challenging to work with. Be sensitive to those who come from a different point of view.

Be Accountable

None of us are victims. It is easy to fall into the trap of blaming others for how we act, feel, and behave. After all, it is much easier to point our finger at others rather than ourselves.  But remember “Know Thyself.” What is it that frustrates or sets you off in working with that “difficult person?”  Do an internal check to determine what, if anything, you might be contributing to the situation first. Do you have an emotional trigger point? Then find out what makes him/her tick, and add this information to the mix to influence that person and change the relationship. It’s amazing how much energy we put into blaming others, and how much time we can save and goodwill we can generate by paying attention to our own behavior.

Practice Gratitude

It is almost impossible to influence others when we continuously feel beat up and helpless. We need to be grounded and solid. A good practice is to find something of value in that person and cultivate a feeling of gratitude for it.  It may be something as simple as how that person makes the morning coffee.  At the very least, this diverts the mind from any previous unproductive interactions. The idea is to change your energy, through gratitude, which then has a ripple effect and helps others to shift their energy and, more than likely, their behavior.