By Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed.
Two months ago, I started a series on identifying behavioral styles. Four core styles exist. Everyone is a blend of the four styles, but there’s no need to memorize thousands of different blends. If you can identify your own and other people’s core style from the four main styles and do a little adapting, working relationships can improve and productivity can increase significantly.
In my previous column, I reviewed the Dominant style – people who are more task-focused and comfortable making high-risk decisions quickly. Our focus today is on a style known as “Influencers.” Like the Dominant style, Influencers are comfortable making high-risk decisions quickly, but they focus more on people than tasks. We refer to them as Influencers because their predominant characteristic is a desire to influence others to their way of thinking.
Value to the team
Those with strong Influencing tendencies are creative and optimistic problem solvers. They are naturally wired to be team players and use enthusiasm to motivate others toward goals. Influencers often have a positive sense of humor and, because they are “people” people, they’re usually good at negotiating conflict.
Ideal environment and motivations
Influencers prefer a good deal of people contact. They prefer a work environment in which they can share their ideas and network with others to solve problems. Doing mundane tasks alone will be very unmotivating. Instead, they thrive when they can participate in group projects and get recognized for being part of a team. They usually enjoy being recognized publicly for their contributions.
Best communication methods
Someone with an Influencing style is an outside-the-box thinker, so they often have a lot of “what if” ideas. It’s best to plan a little extra time to explore these ideas and allow time for general chit-chat while you’re at it. Skipping past that and moving straight into a discussion of facts or figures without allowing for goal exploration will be a turnoff.
This means you’ll want to ask their opinion, and then expect to listen while they share it. As ideas emerge, it’s best to help core Influencers define success in practical terms and also help them set realistic deadlines.
When delegating to an Influencer, it’s best to put details in writing. They truly are “people” people, so when discussing projects, their brains often focus on the people involved, not the tasks. When Influencers do buckle down and start working on their tasks, they want to do a good job, so if the details and deadlines of what’s expected are in writing, they’ll know exactly what you want and check off the boxes so they can maintain a good relationship with you.
Other communication tips include providing testimonials from people they perceive to be important and offering extra incentives for their willingness to take a risk. Just be sure to keep your conversations positive and encouraging. If you talk down to them or over-control the conversation yourself, Influencers are likely to disengage.
In the next issue I’ll be reviewing the “Steady” style.
Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a best-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. For more than 30 years he’s been working with teams and individuals (1:1 coaching) to help them achieve excellence. He was also teaching Emotional Intelligence since before it was a thing. Reach Daniel through his website, MyWorkplaceExcellence.com, or his office: 208-375-7606.