By Michael Shabaka, Ph.D., Manex
Register for the Influencing Skills for Leaders Workshop on Thursday, October 27.

People often don’t realize the impact they can have when it comes to influencing others. When asked the question during a leadership workshop, “What has more power, influence or authority?,” the answer is almost always unanimous. It’s influence. It is easy to get caught in the trap of not understanding the potential impact we can have with respect to influencing others. We can feel as though we don’t have the power within the company to influence.

Influence comes from collaboration. Not compromise, but collaboration. Like a Venn diagram, there is almost always a place where we can agree, and our circles intersect. That is often the case because when people are surveyed about issues and problems within an organization, both cross-functionally and up and down the organization, there is overall agreement as to what those problems are. It is how we would choose to solve those problems that can differ.

That can happen because too often we get caught up in our functional silos and competing when collaboration provides a far better outcome. We’re concerned about our own productivity and hitting our numbers since that impacts our salary, our bonus, and our reviews. The problem is when we don’t collaborate and have influential conversations, our organization, customers, and our people can suffer. Because those solutions don’t consider the impact on all others internally and externally that are affected.

When you bring your teams together and break down the walls, both up and down within the organization and cross-functionally, the commonality of issues comes up. So often you will hear people be surprised that they all have the same issues, challenges, and frustrations.

Influencing becomes much easier when we stop getting so locked up in our personal situation and agenda and take the time to learn others’ perspectives and what’s going on in their world. When those commonalities become clear, the ability to collaborate and find solutions that are good for everyone becomes so much easier.

It’s critical as leaders to help break down those walls. Put your teams in a position to connect with each other and actually listen to what the others have to say. When we take the time to start with others’ perspectives and gain an understanding of where they are coming from, the ability for all of us to solve problems together becomes so much easier.

Leadership skills and styles vary from one individual to another. This is why it is always important to learn new techniques and get new ideas on how to cultivate a leadership style that empowers you to be a great leader in today’s multi-cultural and diverse workplaces.

There are two key challenges that block employee empowerment — ownership and entrepreneurism. The first involves improving company communication, in particular cross-functionally. The second is about understanding the challenges of why it’s not inherent in most employees’ best interest to be entrepreneurial and how to turn that around.

Four reasons often shared when interviewing employees are:

  1. We do not communicate well with each other.
  2. Leadership does not share key information with us.
  3. Cross functionally – we compete as opposed to working together.
  4. When I do have an issue, nobody listens. I’ve complained to Management, and nothing ever changes.

Internal communication challenges are often at the top of the list in employee concerns. It’s not that anyone wants to communicate ineffectively, but we often do not know how to communicate. With the way most businesses operate, proper communication is not fostered. As well, with most employees looking out strictly for their best interests and their functional team’s best interests, there isn’t enough incentive to work together and communicate effectively.

Almost without exception, the challenges are the result of functional silos and how departments don’t work together in the company’s best interests. Our tendency is to protect ourselves as well as to be competitive. This neither internally fosters strong communication nor encourages staff to think independently, which creates an Entrepreneurial Workplace.

The goal in Manex’s leadership workshops, led by trainer Michael Levin, is to break down the functional walls and show the benefits of collaboration instead of competition. The place to start is to find a mutually beneficial desired outcome. Within departments or silos, the path to get to the desired outcome may be different. But, if conversations are facilitated and both sides come to realize they want to get to the same place, they can put together a plan that works for both parties.

Manex’s leadership workshops focus on starting with small gains, because this is often a cultural shift and you do not want to overwhelm your staff, especially if they are multi-generational and/or multi-cultural teams. Manex’s methodology is to teach the groups the communication skills they need in order to work together. Then they will take on small projects or initiatives in which the teams can work together. Once they start making small gains and get to reap the rewards, it leads to non-facilitated cross-functional improvements and better communication that are often realized company-wide.

Influencing Skills for Leaders Workshop
Register for the Influencing Skills for Leaders Workshop on Thursday, October 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Manex. Presented by Michael Levin, this workshop will focus on critical communication and influencing skills for leaders to help drive business results, collaboration, problem-solving and employee satisfaction, and retention.
Takeaways from this fast-moving high impact workshop include:

  1. Two critical tools that can substantially improve productivity, morale, and teamwork.
  2. The steps and methodology to effectively influence, create collaboration and dramatically improve problem-solving.
  3. Michael’s 4-step methodology for resolving conflicts and concerns in a mutually beneficial manner.
  4. How to potentially increase your odds 4x of coming to a mutual agreement in a challenging conversation.

Register online today.

About the Trainer
Michael Levin is a leadership consultant for Manex. He has launched numerous companies in a wide variety of industries and built them into multimillion-dollar entities. Levin is a three-time #1 International Best-Selling author. His books include his #1 inspirational best-seller “Let Them See You Sweat” and “Sitting on the Same Side of the Table: The Art of Collaborative Selling.” He is also a former 50 Senior Executive for Pepsi-Cola running gold standard divisions in San Francisco, Oakland, and Reno.