You must also be influential if you want to succeed.
Why do so many people, who are genuinely good at their jobs, experience so much frustration and disappointment at work? Well, their ability to influence has a lot to do with it. These people (maybe it’s you) often find themselves in situations where they would like to be able to influence the outcome, but just don’t know how.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be giving you tips on influencing in various situations. Why not try them out? Let me know how you get on.
So here goes for the first situation:
Dealing With Your Manager (HaHa – You just knew I’d start here)
Q: What’s the number one reason people leave their jobs?
A: They don’t like their manager.
It’s true; it’s been this way for a very long time too. (Ohh…I’m so very tempted at this point to write a humungous list of all the crappy managers I’ve had in my time…shall I? Better not huh…and I’m sure they know already…)
It’s very likely that if you’re in this situation your whole attitude to the company and your job in general is badly affected. If you’re like me, just the thought of having a conversation with ‘that man’ or ‘that woman’ raises your stress level. It’s so hard to be at your best in such situations isn’t it? Things can be so much easier if you’ve planned your ‘influence strategy’.
So how do I do that Shaun?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s an idea (sorry, it doesn’t involve guns, knives or any other sharp implement):
Your Influence Strategy
Clarity is paramount and is the key whenever you need to ‘manage’ your boss or influence upward. How many of you prepare what you’re going to say…I mean properly prepare?
You’ll need to get it clear in your mind what’s working or not working, from your perspective, but also think about what you hope to change.
It’s super important to look at things from your manager’s perspective too. If you don’t know what they think, then ask…nicely.
Try to envision a conversation that goes beyond just getting what you want and be prepared to explore stuff that you and your manager can look into together.
As you talk with your manager, make sure you clearly state how you see things and invite your manager to do the same; this’ll show that you’re sincerely interested in his or her point of view (well, OK, so they’re as boring as watching paint dry, but hey…try your best to look interested…cough, cough).
Take care to back your proposals whenever possible. You need to have this one nailed down. Use reasoning that connects to what is important to your manager and have your ammo to hand, but make sure your ammo is the right calibre.
Ask your manager to share some of his or her goals. You never know, you might be able to relate to some of them. (I know it’s a bit difficult when the only goal your manager has is to emigrate or to make themselves look good at your expense…this requires a different approach).
Throughout your conversation, search for common ground. Your manager will (or should) welcome this form of influence because it invites him or her to contemplate some appealing possibilities. If they can’t see the possibilities then maybe they shouldn’t be managing…take over yourself.
Stick at it though, because conversations like this with your manager might not work perfectly at first. What it will do though, is separate you from those others who simply whine, moan or make demands. It’ll also get you respected because your manager will know what you want.
By finding out your manager’s goals you’ll be able to see where he or she is coming from and where those sometimes mad decisions have evolved from; this’ll lessen your stress level and at the same time increase your influencing ability. Over time, this kind of interaction will transform how your manager sees you and deals with you, for the better.
That’s it – for now at least … As I said earlier; this is the first of many. Stay tuned. I’m off to sunbathe… didn’t quite nail that tan enough in Hong Kong… lol.