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8.15.08 Issue #336 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
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Influence: Gaining Commitment and Getting Results

What does it take to get employees to do their jobs? You pay them well. They’re experienced in the dental field. But little things still don’t get done unless you tell them what to do. It takes away from your time when you should be seeing patients. You wish you didn’t have to deal with employees but you can't get results by yourself. What do you do?

Before you attempt to modify other people’s behavior you need to acknowledge their motivations. As the Dental Leader, your job is to mine that information, and then influence the factors that inspire your employees to higher levels of productivity. What motivates mature workers is frequently quite different than what drives the “Millennial” generation. The point is that all people are different and your leadership goal should be to help each individual to meet her/his own needs as well as the needs of your practice. We call that influence.

“Influence is the power and the ability to personally affect others’ actions, decisions, opinions or thinking by direct or indirect means.” The foundation of effective and constructive influence is relationship building. By gaining trust and respect from others, you increase your ability to win their cooperation and collaboration. For the purpose of this article, I will assume that you have positive relationships with your staff and that there is general harmony in your practice.

The next step is to determine the influence strategies you use, and what tactics are best for each of your staff. There are three primary approaches: head, heart and hand.

Head Tactics: Logical Appeals for Organizational Benefits

  • Objectively and logically explain to the person the reason for the requested action.
  • Offer factual and detailed evidence to show that your request is feasible.
  • Explain clearly and logically why the change is the best possible choice of all competing choices.
  • Explain the logical process for how potential problems or concerns will be handled.

Head Tactics: Logical Appeals for Personal Benefits

  • Explain how a requested action is likely to have long-term benefits to the person’s career.
  • Assist the person in gaining more visibility and a better reputation in the organization.
  • Make the person’s job easier or more interesting.

Heart Tactics: Emotional Appeals for Individual Goals and Values

  • Show the person how the requested action meets his/her individual goals and values.
  • Describe the task with enthusiasm and express confidence in the person’s ability to accomplish it.
  • Link your request to a clear and appealing vision the person can fully support.
  • Appeal to the person’s self-image.

Hand Tactics: Cooperative Appeals for Collaboration

  • Provide the necessary resources (i.e., time, staff, materials and technical support) that the person needs to accomplish the task.
  • Reduce the difficulty of carrying out the request by removing barriers to success.

 Hand Tactics: Cooperative Appeals for Consultation

  • Ask for suggestions on how to improve a tentative change in order to create a win-win outcome for all parties involved.
  • Ask for ideas about how to carry out the requested action, and incorporate those ideas into the process.
  • Thoughtfully respond to employees’ concerns and suggestions.
  • Involve employees in the larger process of deciding how to carry out your goals.

Hand Tactics: Cooperative Appeals for Alliances

  • Create alliances with people who are in support of the change.
  • Involve credible people to help you influence reluctant employees.
  • Develop strategic alliances by networking with key stakeholders who will help you in developing your influence strategy.

These are some of the primary ways you can begin to influence your employees. Remember…every person is motivated by something. As the Dental Leader, your challenge is to create an environment in which your employees choose to be motivated at work…and to sustain interest and attention every day.

Next article: Putting the Influence Tactics in Practice: a 6-step model for success.

It is essential to know your own preferred style if you want to influence others successfully. Contact Dr. Haller at She’ll help you to identify your strategies and apply them effectively.
Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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