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Skills for Building
and Influencing Others
• This chapter will concentrate on the most “basic”
skills that leaders need.
– Building credibility
– Conducting meetings
– Effective stress management
– Problem solving
– Improving creativity
• Credibility is the ability to engender trust in others.
• Leaders with high levels of credibility are seen as
trustworthy and having a strong sense of right and
• Credibility is comprised of two components:
1. Expertise consists of technical competence,
organizational knowledge, and industry knowledge.
2. Trust is comprised of clarifying and communicating
your values and building relationships with others.
The Credibility Matrix
Source: G. J. Curphy, Credibility: Building Your Reputation throughout the Organization (Minneapolis Personnel Decisions International, 1997).
Expertise x Trust
• Leaders in each quadrant of the Credibility Matrix
have different interactions with followers.
– First quadrant leaders have high levels of both trust and
expertise; they would likely be considered highly credible.
– Second quadrant leaders may include those who haven’t
spent much time with followers, who don’t follow through
with commitments, or who are new to the firm and
haven’t had time to build relationships with co-workers.
– Third quadrant leaders may be new college hires or
people joining the company from a different industry.
They probably do not have technical competence,
organizational or industry knowledge, or time to build
relationships with co-workers.
– Fourth quadrant leaders may include those who were
promoted from among peers or who transferred from
another department within the company.
Figure 8.2: A Systems View of Communication
• Effective communication involves the ability to
transmit and receive information with a high
probability that the intended message is passed
from sender to receiver.
• Few skills are more vital to leadership.
• The quality of a leader’s communication is positively
correlated with subordinate satisfaction, productivity,
and quality of services rendered.
• The effectiveness of the communication process
depends on the successful integration of all the
steps in the communication process.
• Leaders can improve their communication skills
through a number of different means.
– Determining the purpose of the communication before
– Choosing an appropriate context and medium for the
– Sending clear verbal and nonverbal signals
– Actively ensuring that others understand the message
• Good leaders and followers recognize the value of
• Listening to others is just as important to effective
communication as expressing oneself clearly.
• Leaders are only as good as the information they
have, which usually comes from watching and
listening to what is going on around them.
• The best listeners are active listeners.
• Passive listeners are not focused on
understanding the speaker.
• Active listening improves understanding and
visibly demonstrates respect.
• Active listening skills can be improved in
– Demonstrating nonverbally that you are listening
– Actively interpreting the sender’s message
– Attending to the sender’s nonverbal behavior
– Avoiding defensive behavior
• Individuals exhibiting assertive behavior are able
to stand up for their own rights (or their group’s
rights) in a way that also recognizes the
concurrent right of others to do the same.
• Assertiveness differs from acquiescence and
– Acquiescence is avoiding interpersonal conflict entirely
either by giving up and giving in or by expressing needs
in an apologetic, self-effacing way.
– Aggression is an effort to attain objectives by attacking
or hurting others.
Assertiveness, Acquiescence, and
Figure 8.4: Relationships between Assertiveness, Acquiescence, and Aggression
• We can do several things to behave more
– Using “I” statements
– Speaking up for what we need
– Learning to say “no” to others
– Monitoring our inner dialogue to ensure that it is positive
– Being persistent without becoming irritated, angry, or
• Meetings can help accomplish goals, exchange
information, and maintain communication.
• Guth and Shaw have 7 tips for running meetings:
1. Determine whether a meeting is necessary
2. List the objectives
3. Stick to the agenda
4. Provide pertinent materials in advance
5. Make the meeting convenient
6. Encourage participation
7. Keep a record
Effective Stress Management
• Stress is the process of perceiving and responding
to situations that challenge or threaten us.
• Responses may include:
• Increased levels of emotional arousal
• Changes in physiological symptoms(increases in
perspiration, heart rate, cholesterol level, or blood
• Stress often occurs in situations that are complex,
demanding, or unclear.
• Stressors are characteristics in individuals, tasks,
organizations, or the environment that pose some
degree of threat or challenge to people.
Effective Stress Management (continued)
• Stress can either facilitate or inhibit performance,
depending on the situation. Manage stress by:
– Monitoring your own and your followers’ stress levels.
– Identifying what is causing the stress.
– Practicing a healthy lifestyle.
– Learning how to relax.
– Developing supportive relationships.
– Keeping things in perspective.
– Applying the A-B-C Model to change self-talk.
• A - Triggering Event(s)
• B - Your Thinking
• C - Feelings and Behaviors
• Identify problems or opportunities for improvement
to ensure that the task is clear.
• Analyze the causes of the problem using a causeand-effect diagram and force field analysis.
• Develop alternative solutions using the nominal
group technique (NGT) to generate ideas.
• Select and implement the best solution based on
• Assess the impact of the solution using measurable
criteria of success.
Figure 8.5: A Cause-and-Effect Diagram
Force Field Analysis
Figure 8.6: Force Field Analysis Example: Starting a Personal Exercise Program
• Brainstorming stimulates creative group thinking.
• Seeing things in new ways enhances creativity
but is difficult because of functional fixedness.
This mental block can be overcome by:
– Thinking in terms of analogies.
– Putting an idea/problem into a picture rather than words.
• Leaders can use power constructively to
encourage the open expression of creative ideas.
• Forming diverse problem-solving groups
increases creativity but may also increase conflict.