Influence is key for many of our coaching clients. Leaders work hard to gain more influence and impact. It can be the difference between great collaboration and strong results versus disengaged teams and mediocre performance.
One of the most important things that you can do in order to have more influence is remember to share context when you schedule meetings with other people. This is something you should do with both your peers and the people you manage.
Why you should share context with your peers:
Have you ever been invited to a meeting by another department and wondered why? Did you ever draw conclusions before the meeting even began?
- They probably invited me because they need to share what they are rolling out simply to let my team know
- They probably invited me because they need my funding to support this campaign
- They invited me because they were told to be collaborative
- They invited me because they think I will be a roadblock because they know I don’t agree with their campaign model
When we don’t know why certain things are happening to us, we draw our own assumptions. Regardless of whether or not our assumptions are correct, they impact how we interact, how much we share, and how willing we are to make commitments to our peers.
Now, imagine that you are the one calling the meeting, and your colleagues enter the meeting with all of these assumptions. How effective do you think the meeting will be?
By sharing context and background information up-front, this helps people see your point of view, and creates a shared understanding for your conversation. Otherwise, people spend less time listening to what you’re saying and more time making assumptions about why you want them to do something. This puts them on edge and makes them defensive.
Why you should share context with your employees:
Have you ever had a supervisor or manager call you into their office for an unexpected one-on-one meeting? How did you feel? Was it intimidating?
When you are a senior leader looking to meet with an employee, remember that these types of meetings can be stressful for many people – especially when they’re unexpected!
Even if you just want to get a quick update on a topic, or understand more about a certain project, your employees may spend most of the meeting thinking that they’ve done something wrong.
This anxiety creates an “me-vs-them” dynamic which hurts collaboration and prevents them from being forthcoming.
Giving them context surrounding your meeting will not only relieve any anxiety they might have about the reasons for the meeting, but also gives your employee the benefit of being able to adequately prepare.
Helping leaders be more influential
“Being more influential” is the number one thing we help our clients with. At Epiphany, we have over ten years of experience helping leaders do just that. We focus on dramatically improving leadership performance, confidence, communication skills, and collaborative ability that positively drives stronger business performance.