By Sweta Srivastava
Through this article, I want to focus on one of the essential leadership skills and employee engagement strategy, which when used effectively can transform your work environment and can change the behaviour of your employees positively.
Influencing and persuading people to bring a positive change in their behaviour can be helpful for the organisation as well in the long run. It will encourage employees to support each other and help them to be more productive and achieve their goals. As an HR manager and team leader, it is one of the essential skills that always benefits when proposing or introducing a new idea or concept or just trying to cultivate a better work culture.
With the shift in the global work environment and a new generation of employees joining the workforce- who have a low tolerance for traditional hierarchy and autocratic management style; to get a job done, employees need to know ‘what’ work they are required to do and ‘why’ they are asked to do it. That is where the art of persuasion is needed and doing it the right way is as important.
Here are a four key points to keep in mind for effective persuasion:-
Keep your Objectives Clear & Establish Credibility
When you position at the workplace credible and people trust your views and suggestion it gets easier to communicate with people and persuade them to accept it. Building credibility depends on the relationship you share with your employees and your knowledge and expertise.
If your organisation needs a new system or technology, and you want to persuade people to accept this idea, you need to let people know about how it can help the company to achieve better results in future and gain an edge over the competitors in the market. Good persuasion skill is vital to make them understand the issues, company is facing currently and the reasons for why you propose your suggestion to address it. Provide people with real facts to consider your ideas. It is essential to keep the objectives you want to achieve clear and well supported by realistic figures.
According to Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, “eliminate emotional arguments so that you and others can judge the proposition on the facts alone”.
Explain the Benefits from other People’s Perspective
Your employees may not support an idea if they feel that it can be the cause of any discomfort for them later. Also, in such cases, even your credibility will not be very much helpful. Therefore, it is vital to let them know the benefits they can get after the implementation of your idea. Moreover, make sure to highlight both monetary and intrinsic rewards. Monetary benefits may seem to be the most effective factor to convince and motivate people. However, in most cases, it’s the other factors like job satisfaction and professional growth, that drive them most. Also, be realistic with the numbers and outcomes.
Persuasion is Not a One-time Effort
Persuasion is a slow process and cannot be a one-time thing. It requires a constant two-way flow of communication and feedbacks, compromises and flexibility to change according to the market conditions or requirements of the organisation. It will be time-consuming and laborious as you may need to communicate with people at different levels and make them understand your proposal in different ways.
For example; you will have to communicate with the higher management for introducing new technology in the organisation and persuade them how it will improve the overall output for the company at a lesser cost or improve the productivity of employees. Once you have convinced them, they will inform the concerned department manager to consult and confirm the feasibility of that idea hence he will require further explanation to understand the concept and its benefits. Once you have convinced the line manager, you will be needed to persuade his team and explain them the idea, in more simple terms and persuade them to support it.
It may seem to be a tedious process. However, it can produce greater benefits in the long run.
Engage and Involve People in Your Ideas
When you are persuading people to accept your idea, it is necessary to make them feel an essential part of it. Ask for their contribution and provide them with a common ground to keep them interested.
Do not argue or force them to follow your ideas blindly as it will only lead to discontentment on their part. Moreover, it will be difficult to proceed with the plan and get it done. Give them the reason to trust and back your proposed idea.
Ask for their suggestions and feedbacks and collaborate them to your idea if they are helpful and can help your organisation to achieve the desired results faster. When your team is actively involved in a project, it will be easier to motivate and engage them during the whole process of it.
Persuasion is much more than just getting your ideas accepted by people. It is an art which requires commitment and expertise. Moreover, with changing business scenario, it is becoming more of necessity. It can bring about the much-needed change by making people work together and can serve a constructive outcome.