In this serial, let us look at the Barrier to Influence. There are external and internal barriers. External barriers are those limitations posed by the person you want to influence, while the internal your limitations as the person who wants to influence another. Allan Cohen and David Bradford in their book Influence without Authority, Second edition of The Classic Work highlighted the following limitations
The External barriers include:* One, Positional differences, when there is too great a power differential between you and the person or group you want to influence. At this point you need to increase your resources, but sometimes the difference is so great that you have little to offer. Two, Differential in goals and objectives, when the people you want to influence have different goals and objectives from yours, leading to different priorities and you can’t find common ground. It could be differences in organizational – departmental goals, expectations and aspirations therefore they won’t care about what you ae trying to achieve or accomplish. Sometimes they may just have completely incompatible personal goals.
Three, Incompatible performance measures and rewards. This is when the people you want to influence have incompatible performance measures and rewards. This is commonly by organizational role, they may be held accountable for and rewarded for things that won’t let them respond to what you want. The measurement system may leave them with little latitude. Four, Rivalry and Competition. Influencing will be difficult when the people you want to influence are rivals, or feel competitive and don’t want you to succeed. If your success will be seen as somehow interfering with their success, you may not be able to get help. Especially when there is a strong personal animosity toward you that it clouds their judgement.
These are some external objective reasons why it can be hard to get what you need for doing the good work you want to do. Occasionally, you can’t overcome these barriers, no matter how skilled and influencer you are. However, it has been discovered that far more often, the barriers are inside the influencer than the person that is to be influenced. As an influencer, you may not have the needed knowledge of the situation and the skills to move the resistant person, or may not have the required attitudes and courage. You may need to apply you emotional intelligence.
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