Most of the leaders I coach are focused on how they can influence others. How do they ensure team members are committed to a shared vision and strategy? However, equally important is that leaders be open to being influenced.
People sense when a leader, a colleague or a parent has a fixed point of view. Often people say they see no use in trying to change the person’s view. Important conversations are not being had that will benefit all involved. Leaders need to check themselves and truly be open to learning more and be willing to be influenced and change views.
J did not believe her colleague was open to new ideas and therefore J did not try to influence him. She complained about him to others and disliked working with him. She complained that he was not open. In fact, through coaching she became aware that she was not open herself. When she became curious and engaged in an open conversation with her colleague, he felt more understood and was less insistent that his way was the only way to proceed. In fact, J’s curiosity and openness to being influenced herself allowed her colleague to himself be curious and thus, both were influenced by the other. They implemented a new process and productivity soared.
The key is catching ourselves when we believe others are not open and start by honestly becoming open to new ideas. It helps to give yourself empathy, along with your colleague. Experiment with becoming open to changing and notice what happens as you are open to influence.