How to Influence Colleagues
No matter how smart and hard working you are, sometimes getting what you want in your career is a matter of influence. Soft skills such as listening, persuasion and the art of small talk are important. If you own a business, your professional relationships are doubly complicated. Good leadership includes the ability to influence your colleagues and employees rather than simply command them.
One of the key ways to influence colleagues is to let them influence you. If you set up channels for effective consultation and feedback on regular business processes or on changes that are contemplated for the company, you will make your colleagues feel as if their voices are heard and valued. This will give them a sense of ownership of the company and help you earn greater respect as a leader.
Naturally, the concerns and motivations of your employees won't always coincide with your own. If you can put yourself in their shoes for a short time and understand what does motivate them, you are in a much more powerful position to be able to influence their behaviors. Talk to them in ways that that show you empathize with their concerns.
Don’t rule by decree. If you want to make a big change in the workplace, bring your colleagues along on the journey you went through to get to your idea. Present your case to your employees and show them step by step why it’s a good idea. Outline the research that backs up your idea.
Positive feedback is a much more powerful tool than negative feedback. Rather than imposing sanctions for behavior you don’t want, reward and praise behavior that you do want. Consider the career goals of the people you have working for you and structure ways to help them achieve professional growth. Celebrate them when they get to each goal.
One of the ways to build bridges with colleagues is to socialize with them in a non-work context. If you are a boss, this has to be carefully managed. You need to maintain a sense of authority, but getting to know your colleagues socially has a host of benefits. Having this kind of connection and mutually knowing something about each other's lives fosters trust and cooperation.