Year after year, the top coaching priority for our clients is having more influence.
Leaders in every industry and at many different levels in an organization understand the value and importance of developing the ability to informally influence their direct reports, peers, and superiors.
Being influential helps leaders get things done – influence brings speed, agility and inspires action.
Recently a coaching client was sharing her struggle with trying to influence a department that impacts her team.
She was voicing her frustrations that this department didn’t understand how what they were doing, or not doing, was impacting her teams’ ability to serve their customers well.
After much discussion I asked her, “What do you think that team is trying to accomplish? Do you know what their goals are? What do you think is important to them?” and finally, “What’s your relationship like with that team?”
She was silent for a moment. Very humbly she replied, “I don’t know.” She realized she did not know their perspective or point of view on the situation. She did not know their long or short-term goals.
She had not taken the time to try to build a strong relationship with the team or the team’s leader.
She was solely focused on her own team and how they were being adversely impacted.
This leader does not have a solid line reporting relationship with this team however that team has a pretty big impact on her teams’ ability to do their jobs well.
To support her team’s ability to execute well, she needs to have some influence with the other team.
Strong Relationship Skills Drive Influence and Power
We recognized that many coaching topics from our leaders had a common thread…Leaders were looking for support to build their relationship skills to increase their influence.
In fact, knowing how to build relationships in a complex work environment impacts everything leaders do. These relationship skills support them to have influence and impact, lead their teams, lead change and transformation, and all the many other facets of their leadership.
Simply said, success in the 21st century demands relationship skills to stay smart, successful and sustainable.
Mike Myatt defines ‘Why Influence Matters’ in this article. “Leadership without influence--isn’t!” He then goes on to state, “…understanding how to leverage the influence factor can make a defining difference in your ability to drive change, build cohesive teams, and to successfully implement strategic vision.”
Can you measure relationship skills?
In response to this top need we were hearing from leaders, we built our own RQ Relationship IntelligenceTM Model and RQ Relationship Intelligence Diagnostic ToolTM in partnership with Dr. Salay at Queen’s University.
The tool explores the 5 dimensions of relationships:
Using our RQ Relationship IntelligenceTM approach we’ve helped hundreds of leaders measure their relationship acumen and identify concrete ways to leverage their relationship strengths and identify opportunities to strengthen relationship skills.
Openness, trust, authenticity and caring are new leadership norms.
What we know to be true is that you can’t influence without relationship.
What can I do to up my influence and power?
If you want to improve your power and influence, focus on developing your relationship skills!
One senior leader we worked with had such a powerful experience with our tool he rolled out the tool across the entire director level of the company, resulting in relationship action items to drive business success for every director.
Another leader was able to turn around one of his regions in less than 3 months from a legacy of underperformance through his relationship-focused approach.
The team felt newly understood, supported and they were willing to implement necessary system changes, processes, and fresh sales approaches to achieve new levels of success.
Another leader redefined her client approach, building deep trust, resulting in increased revenues, returning clients, new revenues and an environment where her clients will make decisions and take actions to support her.
When we have engaging and powerful conversations that create safety and build trust, and when we approach others (our teams, our bosses, our partners, our customers) with generosity, honesty, courage and transparency, we create the ideal environment to do our best work together and achieve outstanding results.
One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou says it perfectly:
If others feel you care about them and their successes, they will allow themselves to be influenced by you.
Want to know more about how coaching programs can help your leaders ignite their influence and grow their leadership skills?
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