Being able to influence the people around us is essential if we want to influence change. Most roles require us to influence and persuade people who have more power, status and authority than us. This can often seem like a difficult task. How can we persuade others who are often more senior to say yes… when we just don’t have the authority to do so?
Well, although you may not feel like you have any power over these people, when it comes to influencing… in fact you do.
You see, power can take many forms. It’s not just about you being a higher status than me.
Below we have outlined 8 different forms of power that you can tap into in order to boost your power and influence. Which ones can you identify with?
This is the most obvious form of power. It is the power someone holds when they have a higher status. Senior leaders and managers fall into this category. Because they have a higher status, they can command outcomes. Although you may not have position power with these particular colleagues, you may have with others in your organisation.
This is when you influence someone by pointing out the risks or consequences of doing (or not doing) so. You can call upon legal requirements, company policy or social etiquette. For example, when working in a laboratory, everyone must wear safety glasses. As a junior you could tell the CEO of the company to put on their safety glasses if they had forgotten to do so.
Often, you are the expert in the area you work in. This gives you what is known as “expert power”; the ability to influence by positioning yourself as an expert. Although others may have a higher status, you have greater knowledge about your subject matter. Draw upon your experience and knowledge to assertively recommend solutions and suggest actions.
They say your network is your net worth. The more you call upon powerful ‘others’ to support your position, the more power you have when influencing. For example, if you have a very important meeting, think about who you can bring with you to help support your case. Turn up with the CEO and you’ll give a great impression that you mean business!
People are influenced by others they admire. This is why big brands pay millions of pounds for celebrity endorsements. Can you call upon association power by name dropping people your colleagues would admire?
This is the power of giving. The more you give, the more the other person values you and ultimately feels indebted to you. This does not have to be material goods (and with anti-bribery laws it is best not to give anything with a price tag!). However, you can give your time, your consultation and your good advice. The more you help the other person, the more they value you, and the more your power and status increases.
This is using your strength of relationship to influence others. Over time, by being reliable and authentic, you can create high levels of trust with the other person. A great relationship can be powerful as it can influence the other person to take the safe and easy option and choose you. Draw upon this power by reminding the other person of all the solutions and results you have generated for them in the past.
The phrase “knowledge is power” is well known. If you have done your research and have the right information to support your case, your power increases. For example, if you are looking to influence a colleague to take a specific course of action and you have all the data to back it up, it will be easy to get them to say yes.
In summary, when liaising with senior decision makers, we often think our influencing position is weak. However, there are a whole host of ways we can be powerful, even if we lack position power. From becoming the expert to tapping into our networks, there is always something we can call upon to influence more positive outcomes.
Which ones can you tap into to boost your influencing power?
Until next time,
P.S. If this topic is something you’d like to explore further with your team contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our Impactful Influencing Programme which can be delivered onsite or online virtually.