Picture the most influential people in the world today – they all share an ability to inspire and motivate others to take action and embrace change. Great leaders understand the importance of influencing others to help them achieve their goals. By influencing I’m talking about the ability to leverage your emotional intelligence to communicate effectively so that you make it easy for the other person to say ‘Yes.’

The bottom line is that influence in the workplace matters. The great news is that your influencing skills can be developed over time. Simply follow these practical steps to help you harness your emotional intelligence so you can win your team’s hearts and minds and inspire them to go the extra mile.

Identify your own communication style

Draw on your self-awareness to understand how your own communication style may impact those around you. A great way to do this is to use a personality profiling tool such as DISC. Once you have identified your communication style, you need to identify those of your team members and align them accordingly. For example, if you are a people-person who likes to communicate the bigger picture, you may need to flex your style in order to inspire an introverted person who makes decisions based on facts and figures.

Put yourself in your team’s shoes

Great leaders recognise that empathy is the key to understanding what makes your team tick. So use your social skills to help you uncover your team’s individual needs – whether these are personal or professional. Only then will you be able to identify the best way to motivate them to reach their full potential.  By actively listening to what you team members have to say, you will build strong relationships based on trust and a shared sense of purpose.

Unlock your inner confidence

Confidence is contagious – you need to believe in yourself and your skills if you want your team to believe in you too. Great leaders keep a cool head when the going gets tough – so draw on your self-control and self-confidence to manage your emotions. The ability to stay calm in a crisis will boost your credibility and reliability in the eyes of your team and this will build trust in the long term.

Set your sights high

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace – good is no longer good enough. So remember to be ambitious– a key EQ skill – and challenge your team members to reach new heights.  By constantly raising the bar, you will help your team move out of their comfort zone into their stretch zone and reap the rewards of increased motivation and improved performance.

Be a glass half full person

As Churchill famously said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” By focusing on the positives and adopting a solution-orientated approach to work, you will lead by example and inspire others with your can-do attitude.    This will help you create a team culture that embraces change and fosters innovation.

Finally, remember that developing your influencing skills doesn’t just happen overnight – so try to hone your skills on a daily basis, whether it’s asking a colleague for extra resources for a project or encouraging a team member to take on new responsibilities. The more your practice, the stronger your influencing skills will become. By building your influence in the workshop in this way, you’ll reap the rewards of a more motivated and energized team that goes the extra mile.





Nicole Soames is a highly qualified coach and EQ practitioner with extensive commercial experience gained from twelve years leveraging large sales teams for Unilever and United Biscuits, followed by thirteen years developing and delivering training programmes across the globe. In 2009 Nicole founded Diadem, the leading commercial skills training and coaching company. With over 85 clients in more than 15 different countries, Diadem has helped many thousands of people become commercial athletes in negotiation, selling, marketing, presenting, leadership and management.

For more information about Nicole, visit www.diademperformance.com follow her on twitter @nicolediadem or visit www.thenegotiationbook.com

‘The Negotiation Book – Practical Steps to becoming a master negotiator’ by Nicole Soames is available from www.amazon.co.uk