In my ongoing drive to find more practical ways to help people become more influential, I would like to ask your opinion.
Why do you think it is so hard for people to get the influence that they want/need? What is happening in the workplace, the environment or even in leadership practice, that is making influence tough? What are the obstacles and challenges which make influence difficult to achieve?
Naturally I have my own ideas, such as the time/workload pressures and the ongoing changes to organisational structures — but what do you think gets in the way of successful influence today?
A few of the comments received…
Total overload of work is in my view the biggest challenge right now. People are being expected to do far too much and they don’t really step back and think about influence – doesn’t even occur to them
I think because everybody is trying the same techniques and has pretty much the same goals from an interaction … and please pardon the generalisation … we’ve all, kind-of, become wary of the same approach and methods and motivations. I’ll probably sound more cynical than I am but is it easy to believe altruistic motivations in a work/professional situations?
Decades ago when Mr. Carnegie spelt out the rules … they were new, untried at work and you could differentiate based on the you-first approach …. today, I am not so sure … “when everyone is a super-hero, nobody is” … springs to mind.
But, I suppose, there is something to be said about actually implementing those rules … the art of application and finesse of execution … we seem to have more interaction, but not enough conversation, or discussion, I think?
Give And Take, 26-Jun-2011
Fear – of losing one’s job, taking risks in a downturn, not complying, accountability, failure.
Generational diversity – the communications gap, different worldviews.
Culture – it rocks back to the base denominator when under stress with subsequent lack of org and personal EQ.
Picking up on Give and Take, I think one of the reasons that it is difficult is that the bar keeps raising. As more people become superheros (?!) so ordinary people have to step up to the plate. When most people are no good at influencing, even a small amount of influencing skills work, but when everyone is as capable, you have to exercise even more skill to get what you want
So true. Honesty and everything recognized.
I perceive that there are higher levels of participation in decision making in organizations. Once people see they can and do have personal power, they are more inclined to activate it when they want to. That means managers and leaders need to be more skilled at being in the conversation, or the situation can fall into the “I have more positional power than you”. And for those aspiring to lead up, influencing skills may not be being demonstrated in an effective way in both these situations, learning needs wilk most likley come from outside the organizational context.