Influencing Downwards AKA How To Talk To Your Team
Updated: Aug 25
Make no bones about it- influence is built only over time. Most of the people we look up to today have worked very hard to establish themselves as experts in their domain, and then to provide the kind of advice that people trust.
Luckily, there is a process you can follow. If done consistently, it can help you reap results. Ready to find out more?
Steps To Influence Your Team Like A Boss
Here are the six steps:
Build trust: Your team members are likely to trust you when you give them a reason to. Some managers make the mistake of claiming for themselves all the glory while throwing their team under the bus on a day-to-day basis. Be the manager who rises and falls with the team. Show them that they are not alone. Influence cannot be built where there is no trust.
Be consistent with help: Ensure that your expectations from your team are consistent over time, and they will find a way to fit into them. Shifting goalposts are irritating for all parties involved, and make your team trust you that much lesser. And we all know what happens in a sphere of influence with no trust. Offer help consistently and lend an ear when people really need it. Are you dependable?
Assertive, not aggressive: It is probably not an easy task to drive your point home without letting anger take over. Many managers agree that anger management is one area they’d like to improve. In the meantime, team members are adults with their own thought patterns. They do not like to be chided. Instead, be assertive in communicating both your expectations and your feedback.
Flexibility in beliefs: It is perhaps not easy to practice both assertiveness and flexibility in the same breath. However, do try. Flexibility in beliefs simply means that you are not so caught up in your beliefs that you cannot see the other person’s point at all. Assertiveness, on the other hand, is all about communication. In other words, be open to someone else’s point of view.
Make advice personal: What we’re literally asking you to do is to make your advice a customized solution. In order to do this, you must be a great listener. If you set aside time to meet someone and give them advice, reduce the number of interruptions in the process and focus solely on them in that time period. People like to feel valued, and the best way to achieve that is to actually pay attention to what they’re saying. (Hint: Close the laptop.)
Action vs. argument: Remember, influencing others is really not about you. All the logic in the world would be useless if the other person is not listening to you. No amount of rhetoric can substitute for empathy. Therefore, your goal is not to prove your point but to offer words to the other person that help them grow and hopefully soothe them.
Have you ever met an angry counsellor or an argumentative trainer? Well, they probably aren’t very successful, and neither will you be if you do not exhibit empathy.