Five tactics for influencing those more senior

Keen to purposefully influence those in more senior roles? The quintet of practical pointers below will help you better ‘manage up’ and create mutually valuable relational wins. Which can you try first?
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Illustration by Ruan van Vliet

From sympathy to glory, five proven approaches to try and apply

The tips for relational riches shared here tie into tools and techniques for greater influence explored in our live Managing Up workshop. You'l find coming dates for that here.

Share what helped

Clearly and regularly tell them what they do that’s helpful for you, being as specific as you can to really land the relevance of the behaviour. “I really appreciated you sharing feedback with me on my presentation style after Thursday’s kick off, as it helped me reflect on what I’d do differently next time while things were still in mind.”

Gift the glory

Share the credit for your achievements. This shows a confidence and generosity normally associated with the person in the senior role, and models behaviour that you’ll be keen to see from them too.

Evidence your empathy

Shift your perspective to see things from their point of view. Periodically ask yourself questions like: What are my manager’s top three priorities right now? What’s keeping them awake at night? And then ‘name and notice’ to test your hypotheses: “I’m noticing your frustration with a lot of the client feedback at the minute; and wondering if there’s anything I can do to help the way we’re collecting it?”

Show sympathy

Be supportive and show sympathy when things have not gone to plan. Managers can often feel isolated and that a lot sits with them — and benefit like we all do from knowing that they’re only human, and that fallibility can be helpful to display.

Pull in their perspective

Regularly ask for advice on specific things. That doesn’t mean you need to act on everything you get in return, but do (linking back to our first tactic) communicate back what was most helpful with the things you do decide to take forward.

Take a minute to reflect on the five tactics shared here. Which do you feel you currently do? And which feel ripe to test out next?

Hungry for more?

• There's more excellent guidance on influencing within all kinds of relationships in our 15 minute Charm School eCourse.

Lessons on influence from a former FBI hostage negotiator.

• Tried out a scaling question?