Leading the Way
William Montgomery has worked with a who’s who of high-profile professionals, including Liverpool Football Club, many of whom join him on his annual leadership cruises to participate in his acclaimed leadership development and mentoring programme.
The next leadership cruise takes place aboard Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to New York, between 15 and 22 December 2012. Drawing on his experience and research, here are William’s top ten ways to influence people.
The ability to form mutually respectful relationships with others and to succeed in getting your ideas heard is a vital element of being a good manager. Having influence enables you to gain support and commitment for your proposals, and therefore increase your potential for success.
1. Be influential. Effective influencers are convincing and trustworthy, and both these qualities require self-management. In order to persuade others to accept your point of view, it is necessary to present a clear case that matches their needs.
2. Develop influential attitudes. Effective influencers usually have a mission. They are motivated by their values and so they are able to lead others effectively. Identify your needs, hopes and values, cultivate your leadership abilities, and start becoming more proactive.
3. Let your intelligence be emotional. The ability to manage oneself and to build better relationships with others is vital for a successful influencer. Be aware of your own emotions, be sensitive to the feelings of others, and always act with honesty and openness.
4. Develop empathy. Empathy is the ability to read a person’s responses by imaginatively putting yourself in his or her place. Develop this skill by listening, and by asking questions that get to the root of concerns, so that you can lead discussions in a positive way.
5. Engage interest. To influence people effectively, you need to find a connection between your goals and their needs and wishes. Find out what the other party wants, and use key words that emphasise these benefits as part of your proposals – draw your listener in.
6. Project the future. Inspire individuals or teams so that they are motivated to achieve the goals you have set out. Engage the imagination of others by encouraging them to consider the practical, far-reaching, and exciting implications of your ideas and proposals.
7. Form networks. Building a network of supporters and allies, and potential helpers is the key to successful influencing. Make it a life-long habit to form partnerships and cultivate alliances through a genuine interest in the people around you.
8. Motivate individuals and teams. Build trusting relationships with individuals, understand their values, involve them in decision-making, secure their commitment, and give the necessary support. Define a team purpose, bring together diverse talents, and harmonise efforts.
9. Negotiate successfully. It requires tact and diplomacy to handle negotiations well. Focus on interests rather than positions, prepare thoroughly, generate alternatives, remain composes when dealing with difficulties, and work to defuse disagreements.
10. Dissolve conflict. With the best intentions, opposing views can escalate. Work to dissolve any conflict by acknowledging differences, validating other people’s feelings, creating dialogue by referring to neutral criteria, and looking for areas in which you can agree.