In this Blog Post
We often tend to think that because someone is our Manager we shouldn't do anything to sway their decision-making process. Questions about how to influence your manager is something we regularly get asked about in our Negotiation and Influencing Skills training course. We might know some better ways of doing things, but hierarchy gets in the way.
Leaders today should welcome suggestions and ideas of how to do things better, and also should be open to receiving feedback from the team on decisions that they make and the way forward. However, some leaders may see this as the team member being negative and disruptive and because the team member knows this is less reluctant to make their approach.
If you feel as though you ever need to influence your boss, here are some quick tips to help make your approach more effective.
The first step to influencing your manager is preparation. Barging straight in with a list of problems or concerns may very well be seen as moaning, so you should pre-plan what you are going to say. Think about the following:
I find myself, especially when giving feedback during coaching sessions, helping people to understand what they do and how they do it. I also then move onto the understanding of why they do it.
But, when I've observed other people coaching and providing feedback, the approach seems to be what they did, how they did it and what will they do to change. But, how will the person know what to do differently when they maybe are not aware of why they are doing it in the first place? Maybe they have never thought about it. Maybe they didn't realise that they were doing anything wrong.
How can we support them if we don't understand why? Let's be honest, the only person on the planet who knows the reason why is them.
This is why when coaching around attitude and behaviour that the why is always investigated. It's the thing that sits in the middle of what and how, and we need to peel away those layers to get to why. Then we can go back and investigate how might they fix it, then what will they do to fix it.
The same methodology can be applied to many different areas i.e. organisational change. We spend time telling people what we are changing and how we are changing it, but what about why we are changing it? Surely communicating the why will help people to understand why the change is necessary and reduce the resistance that people have to change.
Using the above techniques should help you to influence your manager more effectively. If you would like more help, take a look at our Negotiation and Influencing Skills Training Course for more tips and techniques like this.