In an earlier article, “Cultivating Entrepreneurial Skills in Your Child,” I told a short story. In this story, I was five years old and wanted something and my father said to me, “What are you going to do to earn the money to buy this something?” I had no idea. One evening, while he was shining all his pairs of shoes for the next week, I sat and watched, and then I had an idea. I could shine his shoes and ask him to pay me. That is the day I became an entrepreneur.
What was missing in my article on the skills needed to cultivate entrepreneurial skills in your child was how to influence people. An entrepreneur needs the vital and most necessary skill of being able to influence others to be interested in and buy into their idea. That Saturday night, I influenced my father, who was more than capable of shining his own shoes, that I could relieve him of this task, and get paid for shining his shoes.
The question then, is how do you cultivate the skill of influencing others? None of us want to be manipulated and there is a difference between influencing someone and manipulating them.
When my father posed the challenge to make my own money, a spark was lit within me, the incentive to make money. I became inspired, driven to find a need, wanting to find a way to be successful and genuinely sought to find a path that could help me accomplish a goal while fulfilling some need.
That evening, while I watched my father shine his shoes, I realized that he did not enjoy this task. I became curious and started asking questions. My curiosity showed genuine interest in shoe shining and I felt compassion for my father because he would rather be at his desk on a Saturday night working on a speech. Through my curiosity and influence, I took over this task. As an executive coach, I have found that curiosity is a tool that opens doors and influences people yet is often underused.
The key ingredient to influence people is curiosity. Intense curiosity.
Let me restate: To influence others, one must become curious. Curiosity is about being present in the moment, observing and asking questions. To be authentically curious, one shows an interest in the other person, developing an understanding of the challenges the individual faces. When one is curious it demonstrates that the other person matters and is important.
As an entrepreneur, your influence is built upon a deep understanding of people by uncovering their strengths, their weaknesses, and their needs. Through this process of curiosity, you gain trust and your influence is genuine and not manipulative.
Questions to ponder:
As a leader, do you show sincere interest in members of your staff and team?
What might prevent you from being curious?
How effective are you in influencing others?
Influencing others makes teams more effective. Being curious and open to new ideas and perspectives facilitates respect and innovation. Using curiosity can draw out information that might not have been considered and makes it safe for team members to share their ideas. In very simple terms, influencing others is about being curious about people.
Contact me today for a complimentary one and a half hour powerful coaching session. And remember, Success Starts With You.