A classroom participant recently shared how influential his wife is with her co-workers. He said she is considered the go-to person in her firm because she can always be counted upon to do the right thing, regardless of who is involved. She is strong in her convictions and consistent in her advice on business matters. She'll inform an executive of an error or lapse in judgment just as quickly as she would do so for an entry-level employee.
Webster's defines the word influence as "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself." When we discuss influence in the classroom we often hear inspiring stories of how a coach, parent, teacher, friend or even a passing acquaintance influenced the participants' lives. They often attribute their own success to emulating those they respect.
In the workplace, it's amazing how often those held in highest regard lack titled power over their colleagues. And that's a good thing because there is only so much positional power to go around. In order to really move an organization forward, more than just the executives need to be influential. Non-management employees can have a tremendous impact on the success or failure of the venture. And how they influence is critical. We study both the "push" and "pull" types of influence and when it may be appropriate to use each.
In the example of the participant's wife, the push style of "rules and standards" is what makes her so effective. For others, it may be the pull style of "bridging or consensus building." It's interesting for people to take the Influencing Styles Self-Assessment and see where their natural styles fall. As a result, they can expand their repertoire in order to have even greater influence.