How much of business is about convincing another party to get things done your way? Well, if you really think about it, a large part of business is convincing and getting your message through. And one cannot disregard the importance of influence over others.
At first thought, this might sound like a vague deal. Influence over others? What exactly does that mean? Is that like forcing people to do things they do not want to do? Not at all! Being influential is not all about making people do the things they do not want to do, but conveying your messages and believes in such a way that the other party comes to your side too. At the end of the day, you want to influence others around you in a positive way so as to bring along positive impact to the business.
It goes without saying that if you are a leader at an organization, you do need a certain degree of influence over others. And this influence is something that your position might or might not get for you, but something you most definitely have to acquire for yourself.
As a leader, you will have to work with a number of other people: colleagues, partners and others who are not really your subordinates. At such a level, your position as a superior is not going to do the trick for you and that is when the power of your influence really matters. Can you get those who are not in your line of command to do things for you? Because that is where the sphere your influence really matters.
It might be easier to influence decisions and actions at a lower level but as the importance of the decision increases, it gets harder to convince others of what you want. At some instances, it might be as simple as asking someone to do something, whereas at other times you would really have to convince them to look at things as you do.
But influence is not all about getting things done your way. Collaboration is a huge part of influence and essential for a thriving work environment. Especially when high performers are part of your team, they would expect to be involved in the decision making process. When others are just as involved in the decision making process as you are, is when influence and collaboration, both, play a big role.
When collaboration and influence come together you are acknowledging the fact that you are all working as a team, and when a team works mutually, it is impossible to credit decisions and concepts to one person. This is about engaging the others in your team and getting the best ideas out in the open so that whatever is best for the organization can get done. For one thing, if you are pedantic about being in charge of all decisions that are made at your organization, then collaboration will not work for you. But do keep in mind that influence does not work all the time; it is a game of give and take.
As a leader of a team and an organization, you should think about if you can differentiate between when you need to use your influence and when collaboration is the best course of action. At the same time, as a leader you need to ensure that your actions and decisions are bringing people together and fostering a positive work environment and not vice versa.
Having influence over others is a very important quality for a leader but more important is being able to distinguish when your influence should be used and when collaboration is the best way.