Leading Through Influencing



You have a life, therefore you are an influencer. The opinions that you have, whether about leadership or wine, influence the thoughts of those around you. Whether you are meeting with your team for a daily huddle, or you are actively encouraging other leaders to daily meet with their teams, your actions or your words cause others to consider your point of view. You are influencing.

We are currently in a series of articles exploring natural behavioral and motivational tendencies (DISC/Driving Forces profile). When it comes to influencing, people tend to influence mostly with who they are or with the facts.

Those who influence with who they are, are often described as “schmoozy.” They tend to be optimistic, poised, enthusiastic, and magnetic. They love to be around people and tend to process their thoughts out loud. Basically their influencing confidence lies in “I like you and you like me. I think this about that, I bet you would like to think that, too.” Think Tony Robbins or Oprah.

Those who influence with the facts tend to be thoughtful, matter-of-fact, and skeptical. They tend to process their thoughts internally and logically, and join the conversation when they are ready to back up their conclusions with the facts. Their influencing confidence lies in “I have carefully weighed all of the options, discovered the one that makes the most sense, and when I show you the facts, I am certain that you will come to the same conclusion.” Think Sherlock Holmes or your accountant.

The Schmoozers and the Thinkers have very different behaviors when it comes to influencing. Neither style is right or wrong. But problems emerge when one is trying to influence the other. Without the skills to understand the other, the Schmoozers are left hurt and the Thinkers are left irritated.

Leadership skill: Communicate effectively when you want to influence.

The key to successfully influencing is knowing:

  1. Do you tend to be a Schmoozer or a Thinker?
  2. Is the person you are attempting to influence a Schmoozer or a Thinker?
  3. Are you interacting with a group of Schmoozers and Thinkers?

When influencing a Schmoozer, invite them to talk. Be warm and friendly and share your thoughts and feelings while inviting them to share theirs. If it is a conversation that includes constructive criticism, make sure that you begin with what is going right before moving into what needs improvement. Only include the details that are absolutely necessary.

When influencing a Thinker, be serious, focused, and prepared with the relevant facts; and patiently answer their additional questions. Give them time to internally process what they have heard combined with what they already know. Remember, they are not slow. They are processing a lot of information before they are ready to reach a conclusion.

The most complex scenario is influencing a mixed group. The delicate meld of warm and friendly and significant level of detail is tricky. The Thinkers easily label the Schmoozers’ warm and friendly “fluff” the sign of an “air-head”, and the Schmoozers quickly label the Thinkers’ details booooring. You will be tempted to stick with your own natural influencing behavior, but don’t do it! You will miss some of those who need your influence.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, leading by effectively influencing?

My experience with both Schmoozers and Thinkers is that we tend to negatively judge those who influence differently than we do. My DISC assessment and my incessant desire to engage in conversation clearly indicate that I am a Schmoozer. This communication work has been invaluable to me in appreciating those who are Thinkers, who need details and time before they take me and my thoughts seriously.

You and your thoughts matter. Influence is the catalyst for change. Polish up your influencing skills and you can truly make a difference in your organization, community, and home.

Posted on September 19, 2018 in Leadership

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