Positive influencing skills can be defined as “using personal power to bring about change whilst maintaining the relationship between the parties involved”.
Personal power relates to the range of approaches and energies that are available in influencing situations. Power can be expressed through assertive and responsive means and everyone has their strengths and their most comfortable methods. However the danger is that we know these too well and default to them, particularly in times of stress. The ideal is to “muscle up” the range of influencing behaviour we use less of, to appreciate the opportunities provided through an approach which may feel uncomfortable and counter-intuitive. Then we will have a full “toolkit” of influencing behaviours available when we need them.
The key is to practise your positive influencing skills; the more the tools are tried out the more natural they become. This us particularly useful when our default energy isn’t being effective or isn’t appropriate to the situation. It is important to try, and to blunder, and to learn, and then try again!
The positive side of influencing is particularly important where a relationship needs to be maintained such as with work colleagues, customers, friends and loved ones. The aim here is for a “win-win” situation which benefits all involved. People who feel listened to and who are being treated fairly and with honesty (even firmly) are more likely to commit to an action. Those who feel compelled will do the minimum and with little commitment or buy-in, if they perform the task at all.
Knowing the tools, how they work and how they can affect the situation is empowering. They provide a structured approach to situations and a path through the resulting conversation. The route may be on the assertive side or the responsive side, or a combination of the two. The better you get at using them, the more nimbly you can move between the different energies. You become more agile in using your personal power with the awareness you need to try something different as you follow your influencing path. Remember, it is all about affecting change whilst maintaining the relationship and this is a major reassurance that what you are doing is right.