Essential Leadership Skills Part 2: Influencing

If you are in any type of professional role, you will constantly be in situations where you have to positively influence. I know that when I worked in accounting and consulting I was in situations where I had to influence.

When I worked in internal audit and risk management roles I had to influence senior managers and directors to implement changes in systems of internal control.

When I worked in professional services my role included bringing in new business. In this situation it was about understanding client needs and demonstrating why what we had to offer was the best option for them.

When I worked in senior level finance roles I had to influence board members to take specific actions to reduce costs or manage cash and working capital.

Like everyone else who was trying to climb the career ladder, I had to go along to job interviews and convince them that I was the best candidate for the role.

One of the most important things I learned about influencing was that you had to be prepared.

Few can ever hope to positively influence if they are not prepared. In preparing you need to have clarity about what you want to achieve. You need to understand those who you are seeking to influence. You have to understand the strategies that are most likely to work. You also need to anticipate how others will respond.

Influencing really is one of those areas that on the surface seems simple but in practice is extremely challenging.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals transition to leadership.