Everyone learns differently, everyone has different styles. One of the ways people are different is how they try to influence each other. This page will help you identify and understand your own influence style and the influence style of those you wish to influence.
Ironically, the way someone tries to influence others is usually the way they wish to be approached. What we like, we try to use with others, whether it works effectively with them or not. And, if it doesn’t work with others at first, we either try harder or give up. Both of these are ineffective means of getting what we want or need, or changing what we want to change. Most of the time, we don’t actually think that there is another way to do it. It generally does not occur to us that there is a different yet effective influence style that this person uses and would respond well to.
- You have and use an influence style (its your favorite!).
- There are at least 4 other ways of influencing that are effective and that are used by others that you interact with everyday. (see the chart below)
In reviewing the influence styles offered here, you should be able to identify and understand your own influence style. Review the grid on the chart below. Does your style jump out at you? Check it against the more detailed sections that follow. If you have difficulty choosing between 2 or 3, think about the last few times you have tried to get something from someone, or change their behavior. Then, read each of those sections and ask others around you which one fits for you. (If you have difficulty choosing between all five, my experience has been that you are an Analytical!) When you have identified yours, pay attention to what you need from others when they are trying to influence you. Then you can let others know how to give you what you need to make an informed decision.
Next, try to identify the style of the person you want to influence. Again, review the more detailed pages. Focus on the second column which suggests what you need to do to influence that person. Think about how you could adapt your style to help that person make an informed decision.
This is another way to build an effective collaborative relationship.
Influence Style: ANALYTICAL
- Produces high quality, detailed and comprehensive proposals for dealing with problems.
- Puts facts, logic, arguments and opinions in order to support a position.
- Presents and defends suggestions and proposals with energy.
- Doesn’t hesitate to put forward unpopular proposal.
- Makes suggestions which are incisive and relevant to the problem under discussion.
- Presents arguments that are brief and to the point
- Uses humor or stories effectively to make a point.
- Challenges opposite points of view.
- Identifies the strengths and weaknesses in an argument.
- Set deadlines and ask for decisions.
- Bring them detailed facts and logic, in writing.
- Back up facts with proof from valid sources.
- Build confidence by being technically competent.
- Show patience while they evaluate and check accuracy and come to their own conclusions.
Influence Style: DRIVER
- States personal expectations for, and requirements of, others, directly, and positively.
- Repeats expectations until they are acknowledged or understood.
- Insists on follow through.
- Tells people the standards by whicht hey will be judged.
- Communicates wishes or needs clearly and succinctly.
- Compliments others when they are doing well.
- Uses praise to reinforce desired behavior.
- Tells people when they do not meet expectations or requirements.
- Gives feedback that provides useful information without judging.
- Exerts pressure, uses power of position.
- Holds a position until others show a willingness to back down, compromise, offer concessions.
- Uses bargaining and negotiation tactics.
- Gets support and cooperation by offering something in return.
- Back up enthusiasm with actual results, demonstrate that your ideas work.
- Be on time and keep to agreed upon limits.
- Stay on schedule, stick to the agenda.
- Provide materials promptly.
- Agree in advance to specific goals and give them freedom to work within these limits; allow for independence and individuality.
- Provide factual summaries, possible options and outcomes. Then let them decide; don’t give excessive reports or precise instruction.
- Don’t try to build a relationship, be business like.
- Be ready to trade something for what you want.
- Let them tell you how to help and what they want.
Influence Style: AMIABLE
- Asks for others opinions and suggestions.
- Invites and supports contributions even if they are opposite views.
- Gives people credit for ideas and contributions.
- Focuses on partner’s strengths and abilities.
- Uses silence to encourage others to express their ideas.
- Encourages others when they have difficulty expressing their opinion.
- Listens carefully to what people are saying. Listens for feelings as well as content.
- Draws partner out to fully understand concerns.
- Tests personal understanding of what others have said.
- Readily communicates personal feelings, reactions, motives, and intentions.
- Shares useful information.
- Readily admits errors or oversights, acknowledges confusion.
- Asks others for help.
- Show concern for them, their families, and their interests.
- Provide details and specifics about how to accomplish objectives.
- Support efforts and accomplishments with personal attention.
- Slow down the pace; allow time to build a relationship.
- Work on one item at a time in detail; avoid confusion of too many tasks or ideas at one time.
- Encourage their suggestions, participation, and support.
- Help them perceive the big picture and how they relate to it.
- Take the necessary initiative, but don’t overwhelm them.
Influence Style: EXPRESSIVE
- Uses colorful words and images.
- Identifies common goals and values.
- Searches for areas of agreement.
- Looks for common interests.
- Generates a feeling of “we are in this to gether”.
- Identifies what can be achieved through working together.
- Brings exciting possibilities to others’ attention.
- Communicates a clear picture of the desired result.
- Communicates common values, hopes and aspirations.
- Displays optimism and enthusiasm.
- Shows confidence in others.
- Encourages a shared sense of commitment.
- Provide discipline so that fun and creativity will accomplish something.
- Give them some room to experiment.
- Keep on track and emphasize the basics.
- Bring opinions based on other people’s support.
- Publicly recognize and praise their accomplishments.
- Stand your ground when challenged about rules, previously established policy, or agreements.
- Remind them about company goals, and purpose, and that we are “all in this together”.
- Spend informal time with them.
- Recognize their need for optimism.
- Ask for their opinions and input in a non-critical and accepting manner.
- Be more open about yourself, your feelings and opinions.
- Relax time constraints within a structure. Provide incentives.
Influence Style: COMPROMISER
- Uses humor or stories to diffuse unproductive tension.
- Suggests a brief break or recess when people get overly angry or upset.
- Stays patient and cool in conflict situations.
- Postpones dealing with conflicts until fully prepared.
- Avoids talking about controversial issues.
- Stays out of other’s debates or arguments.
- Becomes silent or leaves in difficult situations.
- Reduces controversy by minimizing real differences.
- Yields position when pressured by others.
- Modifies position rather than risk conflict or confrontation.
- Focus on how to move forward from here, do not critique the past.
- When tensions rise, allow breaks for jokes, stories; don’t pressure for task accomplishment.
- Patiently encourage and wait for the compromiser’s own ideas and solutions. (A compromiser needs time to discover what s/he thinks, because they are so often focused on others.)
- Don’t bring conflicts with others into the discussions.
Download the workbook for Influence Strategies.
Integration Strategies rev 2007, 2002, 1995, based on Byrum, B. (1986) A Primer of Social Styles. The 1986 Annual: Developing Human Resources, University Associates.