By | Blair Glaser | www.themuse.com
Over the phone, I could sense my client, the CEO of a boutique branding company, anxiously pacing. With 20 years of experience—first as a therapist and then as an executive and organizational leadership consultant—I can tell when my clients are thinking, taking notes, or checking email. And in that moment my executive coaching client was definitely pacing.
He’d thought their reputable new creative director (CD) was a real asset—until his inbox blew up that morning. The CD, under deadline pressure, had reportedly turned into a monster, ignoring the requests of the company’s biggest account and shouting rogue orders at his stunned team.
The CEO wanted to fire the director on the spot. But he also knew his own rash emotional decisions often led to unwanted backlash. After spending so much time wooing the CD over to the company, he needed to hear his side, and, depending on how the meeting went, give him another shot at understanding the way the firm does business and getting in line with the company culture.
“Can I actually influence our CD’s leadership style?” he asked me.
Influence is one of those buzzwords that’s often associated with the top echelons of leadership or with a talent for sales or marketing (think: influencer). But I can assure you, no matter what field you work in or how senior your job—entry level, middle management, director, C-suite—you rely on influence to do your job. Naturally if you’re a boss, you’re influencing staff to perform and behave in line with your vision and expectations. But if you’re an entry-level employee—you may not be aware of how much influence you use to teach your colleagues the best ways to communicate and collaborate with you, and to get higher-ups to listen to and consider your ideas.