…While we both focus on the topic of influence, we approach it from different backgrounds. This has led to many interesting conversations. We thought it might be useful to share some of them with you. We took several influence situations (borrowed with permission from Barnes & Conti’s Exercising Influence program material) and thought about how we might advise a client to approach them.

You need the support of a senior manager to sell your department on the need for a change in a key business process. This manager is not noted for risk-taking and usually prefers to have direct reports out front on changes. This time you need a strong and public commitment.

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Allan Cohen, Ph.D is the author of many books about leadership and influence, including Influence Without Authority (with David Bradford; Wiley, 3rd edition, 2017). Kim Barnes is the CEO of Barnes & Conti Associates, Inc. and is the author of several books including Exercising Influence: A Guide for Making Things Happen at Work, at Home, and In Your Community (Wiley, 3rd edition, 2015.) Allan and Kim are neighbors, colleagues, and friends as well as fellow Wiley authors.

While we both focus on the topic of influence, we approach it from different backgrounds. This has led to many interesting conversations. We thought it might be useful to share some of them with you

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A recent Gartner study concluded that there were three qualities that characterized especially effective leaders – qualities that only one in four respondents reported were true of their managers. The three qualities are:

Authenticity; leaders were open about their thoughts and feelings
Empathy; leaders were tuned in to and interested in the experience, needs, and interests of those who report to them
Adaptability; leaders were flexible in responding to those needs and interests.

Leaders with these qualities, the report states, contributed to better engagement, performance, and retention of their team members.

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I have often run an exercise in workshops in which the participants create an emblem that represents what they stand for – what they want the world to know about them. They then meet in small groups and without saying anything about it, show that emblem to the others, in turn. Each person, when they are the focus of the group, shows the emblem but offer no other information at first. The others are to learn as much as possible about the focus person, using the information on the emblem, but may not agree, disagree, or offer feedback. They are specifically asked not to offer either negative or positive evaluation, but they may ask questions and the focus person may answer them.

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Kim Barnes, who is, of course, the developer of our Exercising Influence program and author of the book, Exercising Influence: A Guide For Making Things Happen at Work, at Home, and in Your Community (Third Edition) recently engaged in a fascinating dialogue on social media regarding silence and influence.

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