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How to successfully influence people

To achieve exceptional performance and productivity from your people, you must work on your power of influence. It is a fact that leaders who are good at influencing get things done faster and with minimal effort. When you become a positive influence for your people, you will notice a change in mindset among them, as they will feel highly motivated, enthusiastic about their work, and take on their responsibilities. Reaching this state is no easy task and will require you to develop the following three skill sets.

Know your destination before you start your journey

The influence is intangible since it depends a lot on the way of thinking of the people. The way a person thinks will drive their behavior, which in turn affects their feelings. As a leader, you must be influential in your thinking so that you can change the mindset of the people you lead. An example of this is the late South African President Nelson Mandela. When he was released from prison after 27 years on fabricated charges, his primary intent was to unify a nation that had been marginalized for racial reasons. To do this, Mandela committed South Africans to cherish each other through sport and other activities in order to eliminate any form of mistrust and misinformation between his people of different racial origins.
To have this kind of influence requires that you have a clear aspiration of where you want to go and why you want to go there. Once you’re clear on this, you need to work on your empathy to understand what your people want and how you can sync this with your own aspiration. You can accomplish this by building a trusting relationship with the people you manage so that they see you as someone who is always there for them through thick and thin. Once your people trust you, they will follow you wherever you want to go.

Focus on your ears not your mouth

The Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium said: “We have two ears and one mouth, so we must listen more than we say.” The power to influence is based on your power to listen objectively and sincerely. When you listen to what your people have to say, without realizing it you are building a meaningful long-term relationship. In addition, when you start to listen, you will also create buy-in for your ideas, as your people are prepared to listen to you in turn, and in the process, you may be able to synthesize their views with yours and work towards a win-win situation. win that benefits everyone. . This will then lessen the conflicts that stifle productivity and efficiency. Entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson is a big advocate of listening, succinctly saying, “Listen, take the best. Leave the rest.”

Learn to persuade like Aristotle

The last skill set for being a good influencer is mastering the art of persuasion. The difference between these two seemingly interrelated words is that influence is more about building relationships, trust, and achieving long-term goals, while persuasion is more about being transactional, competitive, and achieving short-term goals. As a leader, you sometimes need to take this position in that the circumstances you face require you to come up with a quick action plan that doesn’t allow you to negotiate with and influence your people. This is where you need to work on your persuasive power. However, if you’ve implemented the two skill sets above, persuading people to achieve your short-term goal wouldn’t be a problem.

Aristotle, in his work ‘Rhetoric’, identified three important factors that you should focus on when you want to persuade someone. He calls these: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional), and logos (logical). Fundamentally, what this means is that the first thing you must persuade is using your respectful, honest and credible character (ethos). The next thing is to persuade by appealing to their emotions by giving them an imaginative impact of how they will benefit if they do what you are asking (pathos). A caveat here though is that this can be subject to abuse and as such you need to be careful when considering the latter factors which is to persuade by appealing to their intellect by giving them the relevant facts and figures which allows them to make a decision. decision on whether they would want to go with you or not (logos). As long as this is done with credibility (ethos), you will achieve your end result successfully.

Ultimately, as a leader, you are in charge, and how your people perceive you is largely based on how you can influence them in a positive and passionate way. This is when you leave a lasting legacy.

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