Nielsen: Ways to influence people who do not report to you

In order to be even modestly successful, healthcare leaders MUST become highly effective at influencing people who do not report to the healthcare leader.  In my experience over 40 years in healthcare, one of the most fundamental and critical core competencies of exceptional healthcare leaders is their ability to positively influence people who do not report to them!

Physicians, board members, and centers of influence throughout the community are just three of the many very important groups of people that effective healthcare leaders must influence.

Fast Company recently featured a blog entitled: “Five Ways to Influence People Who Do Not Report to you.”

The article is highly relevant to healthcare leaders.  On a daily basis, healthcare leaders are challenged to implement difficult initiatives across multiple functions affecting many ‘powerful people’ and ‘centers of influence’ who may not agree with the initiative and who are not responsible to, and do not report to the healthcare leader.

Five Ways to Influence People Who Do Not Report to You as listed in the blog are as follows:

“1. Do your homework. Find out what your colleagues in different functions think about the initiative. Likely they will oppose it for any number of reasons that we can label the “don’ts.” As in “Don’t like it. Don’t want to change. Don’t want more work.”

2. Make your case. Demonstrate how the initiative will make things better in the long run. Acknowledge short term pain for longer-term gain. Argue the business case.

3. Listen, listen, listen. Pay attention to what your colleagues are telling you. Let them digest the change but listen to how you can adjust the initiative to meet their specific requirements.

4. Push hard. If this initiative is important and if senior management is counting on you to drive it through, and then keep on it.

5. Be there to follow up. This is critical. Make it known up front that you will be available to help implement the initiative. You, or your team, will help the team get the new initiative up and running.”

The blog features former Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon Johnson, and later President Lyndon Johnson as an excellent example of someone who mastered and effectively leveraged this core competency.

Any and all healthcare leaders, who desire to grow professionally, add more value, and take on additional responsibility would do well to spend significant time and effort becoming a master at Influencing People Who Do Not Report to You!  You will use this core competency for the rest of your life!

Copyright © 2010 by Dan Nielsen

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership

Cell 214-695-1292

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