Influencing Up

on November 30, 2011
Manager Development

I was invited to speak with a networking group of HR managers on the topic of improving employee engagement in their organizations.  I expected to have a conversation about best practices, so I prepared accordingly.  I quickly realized that this group already understood the best practices, but they weren’t effective in launching their initiatives.

These HR managers:

  • Had great idea for programs to engage front-line employees.
  • Needed to influence a leader to support them in executing their plans.
  • Presented their leaders with slick PowerPoints and spreadsheets.
  • Were met with responses such as
    • “Can’t you just send an email or mention this at an all company meeting”?
    • “This isn’t really something that I’m willing to allocate money or resources for.”

While they needed the support of leaders to launch their programs, I suggested that there’s a flip side.  Leaders can’t deploy initiatives without the help of everyone in the company, including them, and I encouraged them to appeal to that co-dependency.  By understanding what their leaders care about most, they could make an explicit connection between their programs and the potential impact on what their leaders care about.

I recommended that they skip the charts and slides and create an emotional connection by demonstrating their commitment to help that leader reach their goals.  What would you have suggested?


  • Artie

    Learning a ton from these neat atrciles.


Developing Leaders and Managers
Implementing Strategy
Employee Engagement