Thursday, 27 March 2014

Influential leadership

Well, after the fairground last night, I must admit I've felt better. I blame the arm wrestling and trying to ring the bell with the hammer

This morning we kicked off with Paul Gentle from the Leadership Foundation talking about Engaging Stakeholders with Courage. Started with a very lively discussion on our tables about who are our most difficult stakeholders to deal with! Given that most of the Sheffield contingent were sitting together, there was a fair amount of consensus. Won't give away what we came up with :-)

We spent the session discussing why some stakeholders present certain challenges, fear often playing a part. Also looked at what skills and behaviours are needed by good leaders to successfully engage stakeholders:
Challenger role. Being prepared to challenge the prevailing culture with a clear vision of what a new culture might be like.
Influencing role. Understanding relational aspect of how people work together. Understand what drives individual and how they can contribute
Balancer recognise that conflict can sometimes be a positive force, can act ina mediating role
Questioners can think about operating beyond the tired and tested. Use questions to get insights into th complexity o situations and use user ions to get to innovative solutions
Learners use everything as a learning opportunity. Can surface issues of failure and learn from them.

Very good interactive session with lots of discussion on our tables interspersed

Second speaker was Colin Gautrey talking about Influential Leadership.
Leadership is about outcomes, about getting things done. You need a goal, and the help and support of others. Need a big vision, not just short term. Mark of great leadership is how you get people to go the extra mile.
Need to create time to make progress against the big goal. Managing the short term and the long term is a challenge.

Develop a clear focus. What are you trying to achieve?
Identify important stakeholders, who are the most powerful people who can influence outcome, in a positive or negative way
Analyse what your relationship is with stakeholders and how it needs to change
Plan your strategy of engagement
Engage with stakeholders
Maintain that engagement. Has to be repeated and regular.

Stakeholder mapping needs to take into account your relationship with them. Has to included trust.
Nice quadrant to map stakeholders onto. Not a good picture, but relationship is on x axis, agreement on y axis, and players clockwise from bottom left are enemy, player, advocate, critic

Do a political analysis on your stakeholders.
Power, what makes them influential
Agenda, where are they going
Connections, who do they know
Performance, are they succeeding
Values, what's important to them
Behaviour, how do they do things
History, where have they come from

All of above are key in understanding and then influencing stakeholders.

Influencing strategy
Concentrate on impact
Advocates are top priority, they are already on side
Critics make great opponents
Ignore your enemies. Low levels of trust, and they disagree with you. Engaging with enemies is hard work. Understand their position and the threat they might pose to you and come up with strategy. Neutralise any damage they might cause.
Remember the indirect routes

Five rules of ethical influence
Always help people to make balanced and informed decisions
Ensure pitches include drawbacks as well as benefits
Be clear and open about your own interests
Aim for people wanting to do what you want them to do
Never mislead people into doing something that you know will harm them.

Be politically active. Get out into the organisation and understand people.
Influential leadership is not a solo activity.
Rational persuasion at best gains compliance.
Most effective tactic is inspirational appeal. Communicating with people's values. Can only do this if you know the other person.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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