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Myths on Influence

“Building Influence” is a favourite goal that many of my clients prefer to work on.

In the coaching session, I do ask what's the desired state that they would like to have?

The desired state described somewhat resembles the 1980 cartoon series, “He Man”- “I am the Master of the Universe. I have the power.”

Being influential for many people has strong associations with having a sense of power. "Power", many believe comes with, "where" they are in the hierarchy. With matrixed organisations exercising a lot of pressure to “influence without authority”, there is a growing confusion on what is influence and where power comes from?

This post is about dispelling some of the myths around influence.

  1. Influence is about me

In any scenario requiring influence, there are at-least two parties. So influence is not just about one.

The only way on Earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it     ~ Dale Carnegie

Its not about what you "have", its about what the other "needs".

It's moving beyond from the banter of me Vs you. Its about finding ways to be “Us”.

This requires a lot of creative thinking to arrive at a point where everyone begins to see a better world.

2. I have to be dominant to influence

Influence is our inner ability to lift people up to our perspective. – Joseph Wong

When we want to influence people, we don’t tell people 'what to do' because 'we think we are better than them'. We lift them up to a point where they can see what we can see and feel as important as us. Its definitely not one-upmanship.

3. Decision time is the right time

People who are influential, start building influence with every conversation & opportunity. The leverage for influence comes from having a “trusting” relationship that is not built on an “agenda” but on mutual respect.

Influence is when you are not the one talking and yet your words fill the room; when you are absent and yet your presence is     felt everywhere. ~ Temitope Ibrahim

4. I need "authority"

Influence is about power, but not the one provided by hierarchy. Two sources of power that give an edge when used together are “Expert power” and "Referent power". Expert power is respect built over your capability and experience. Referent power is respect built over your character - that you are trust-worthy and act with integrity. Leveraging both to form non-transactional network can geometrically increase your influence.

5. Influence = Manipulation

Manipulation is controlling someone or something to your advantage unfairly. The fundamental building block of influence is “trust”.

Hence influence can’t be achieved by manipulation.

Influence is about being genuine - Johnny Hunt

What myth is stopping you from building your influence? What would you be without believing in it?


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