As a leader and/ or HR Business Partner, a considerable part of your job is influencing key stakeholders with respect to important decisions or ideas. The desire on your part is to move people to action. Action, however, is one thing that is hard to come by because many stakeholders are still unsure about your credibility. Can you do what you say you do? How do you to it? What is the usual end result?
A movement in the creative industry is afoot which states that people are moved when you show your work. In fact, author Austin Kleon of “Show Your Work”, says that sharing is about process and if you share the what you do, you can build a following which in the business world can translate to building recognition and credibility.
Kleon says that showing your work is not just for creatives. It can help anyone who wants to be recognized. Therefore, the question for you is “Are you sharing your process?”
If not, then what is stopping you?
If you do not know how to show case your work, fear not. There are many ways to do so, and one of them is through case studies. In fact, in the book HR: The Business Partner, author Barbara Kenton and Jane Yarnall talk about the importance of building case studies for HRBPs, so that they can build their credibility with the people they have to work with.
Businesses are already improving their reputation and following through case studies, why not you?
Think about your future. Build case studies of your work and show the audience your capability. Get noticed. Go out there and influence well.
I recently read a book called ‘Positive Addiction’ by William Glasser M.D.in which the author talks about the importance of practicing certain positive habits daily in order to reap benefits in many other aspects of one’s life.
Positive addiction can take the form of daily yoga, running, mediation, or any other activity which can be practiced by oneself for an hour or so. The effect of doing this daily creates a profound impact and a desire to continue the activity because it makes one feel awesome.
With work and life around us becoming increasingly complex, developing positive addiction could be one way leaders can overcome the craziness of it all.
Instead of developing habits such as smoking or long uninterrupted hours at the computer or desk, leaders can think of hour- long activities such as running or meditation to positively impact their day and their performance.
I think the time has come for leaders to think of regular positive additions in their lives before work and technology completely take over. Action and commitment are the two main ingredients needed in this regard.
Very often people give up convincing others because they feel that their words are falling on deaf ears. Others simply will not listen.
A good way to approach influencing, however, is to change perspective and think of what the other person wants vs. what you want.
Why is looking at a situation from the angle of the other person better? Here are a few reasons:
- Needs of people are different
- Understanding and offering to resolve the other person’s pain points are the quickest way to get an audience
- People are motivated by their own thoughts and ideas
- You have yet to establish credibility with them
When you help others out with their concerns, they automatically listen to you.
Influence is about helping people figure out what is beneficial to them, not giving them what you think is better for them.
Therefore, today when you try to influence someone at work or home, just ask them this simple question in a positive manner: “What do you want?”
They will be surprised you did and you will be happy you did.
Leaders are expected to be proactive in their efforts and find new ways of handling things. One area in which they can do better is managing counterproductive situations which occur as a result of bad behavior.
There is a reason why leaders need to be cognizant of this aspect of managing people. Ignoring bad behavior on a regular basis might end up affecting the leader’s reputation and positioning the leader as weak.
If a leader is hesitant to call out a bad behavior, and there is change of a fall out within the team, the leader needs to try methods other than ignoring the behavior.
One way to do that could be transcending the difficult situation by looking at the matter from a bird’s eye view.
It is important to note that by transcending a situation, you are not ignoring negative behavior. In fact, you are observing it and trying to figure out ways to handle the dysfunction.
To transcend a situation, you need to:
- Look at the matter objectively–as though you are not a party to it
- Look at the situation in terms of the values of your organization
- Look at the pros and cons of both arguments
Once you have done that you need to:
- Approach both parties separately and talk to them about the situation
- Clarify your understanding of their points-of-view, listen to their grievances
- Give your feedback on the arguments using the values of the organization as baseline
- Secure agreement to work better as a team
- Have the two dissenting parties work out an agreement to work better together
Transcending is a useful tool to add to your toolkit. It helps you stay in charge of the situation and work more effectively as a leader. It can also help you build a good reputation as even-keeled and fair.
Since team effort is a prerequisite for getting things done in today’s world, it is imperative that the leaders not allow minor issues to damage their faith (aka trust) in others.
A few tips are:
- Take into consideration an individual’s entire contribution. There are times when subordinates may not be able to deliver the results required but to dismiss their entire contribution would be unfair.
- Give subordinates clear directions and if those directions involve any contribution from your end, fulfill obligations. Know that until you deliver the goods, things will not move in the direction you want them to.
- Talk to your subordinate on a regular basis. Provide and receive feedback–work out a mechansim in advance on how to maximise the impact of feedback (both ways).
- Build trust by treating everyone fairly. If you let under performing people off the hook, you will find people trusting you less as a leader.
Building trust will help you go far and enable you to build healthy relationships. It is indeed the core ingredient for the success of any leader.
Yesterday, I was talking to a customer service representative about an alternative product as one of their products I had been using had suddenly been taken out of commission.
A logical answer to my predicament would have been for the representative to share all the alternative products with me and help me narrow down on the product that worked best in my situation.
Alternatively, the representative could have transferred me to someone in the company who had better knowledge of the products.
However, the representative kept showcasing one option as the only choice until I ended up finding the best alternative on my own. When I informed the representative about the second option, he told me, “Yes, this is also possible.”
Needless to say we wasted quite a bit of time talking about a product that I didn’t really want, but all situations have a flip side. I thought of writing a blog post on this exchange and what I learned from it.
A few basic inspiration points I had after this exchange were:
- Always be geared towards how you can help solve a problem
- Really listen to people when they are communicating with you
- Ask questions to hone on what they want
- Know all your offerings
We all teach each other things. I am grateful that the representative reminded me how important it is to understand what other people want.
The title of this blog post says it all, but for the sake of elaborating, I want you to consider a simple case:
A leader makes an earnest promise or offers something to another person insisting that once they are taken up on that offer they will fulfill it.
When taken up on the promise or offer, the leader makes an excuse and scuttles away without a valid explanation. It is almost as though the leader had never made the promise in the first place.
It is important to distinguish such an offer from a rhetorical statement, because at times the leader might just be fleshing out a thought or idea to figure out traction. In that case, the leader is not bound to execute the idea as no commitment has been made.
If there is a doubt about the seriousness of the offer, the recipient should verify if they interpreted the message correctly.
In order to ensure that everybody is on the same page, the leader would also be better served to clarify upfront as to why the idea is being shared in the first place.
Remember: More not less communication.
A one-time offense as far as backing off from a promise is concerned, is adequate to wreck a leader’s reputation. Yet, many leaders continue to stay on this road, and often wonder why the rest of the world has little respect for them.
Moral of the story: Don’t make promises you cannot keep. If you are aiming for goodwill, you are not going to get it and in return all you will get is less respect.