When attempting to “break down doors,” Baldoni recommends building confidence and leveraging it to accomplish good and effect change. Baldoni lists seven angles from which leaders can approach advocacy. Some managers may choose to focus on more than one:
- Information — Disseminating data
- Charisma — Appeal
- Participation — Engaging others
- Compromise — Bringing together diverging viewpoints
- Reason — The tool of logic
- Emotional appeal — Appealing to the heart
- Coercion — Application of force
He then delves deeper, outlining the nature of relationships within organizations, the best ways to relate to people, and most important, how to get things done:
*The View from the Middle. Middle managers must be on top of what is happening in their organizations, both above and below them.
*The View Looking Up. In communicating with senior management, managers must be solid in their knowledge of the facts, prepare their pitches well, and build supportive coalitions. They should persist, even if their ideas are initially rejected.
*Relate to People as People. Before asking people to support a point of view, it is crucial to connect with them. This may mean empathizing with alternative viewpoints and even networking with those on the “other side of the aisle.”
*Present Your Ideas. Telling a story about the benefits of a product or idea can help listeners connect. Equally important is presenting with enthusiasm.
*Respect One Another. Managers and employees need to show respect by listening to each other.
*Influence Across Borders. As organizations become leaner and more linear, it is necessary for leaders, particularly in the middle, to exert influence beyond their own departments. They should make themselves available to help in times of change, encourage others with stories of success, and even as they exert influence, remain humble.
*Make Your Case. Baldoni presents a series of action steps but cautions leaders to recognize when it is prudent to repeat steps or change the order. The steps include: taking the temperature of the organization, identifying both supporters and detractors, arguing for the value of propositions, making the business case for propositions, anticipating obstacles and then revising, engaging on an emotional level, and making people feel like they can benefit from a proposal.
*Deal with the Limits of Influence. Sometimes senior managers will dismiss an idea. The challenge for influencers is to persevere.
*Advocate. Advocacy means standing up for what a person believes in. To be the best advocate possible, leaders should provide information about the issues at hand, teach their teams how to articulate them, and prepare their teams for potential adversity.
*Stick to Your Knitting. One note of caution — leaders need to be careful about asking their people to become advocates. They should make sure that people advocating truly believe in the cause, and it is best to limit the number of people involved.
All of these strategies boil down to the fact that a team requires a leader who is not afraid to try new things to achieve great results.