January 11, 2022

Build Your Influence – What’s Your Go-To Style?

Now is the time to explore new approaches to building influence with(out) authority. Everyday you have the opportunity to make a mark on the world through what you say and do, and vice versa.

Picture of By Stuart Paap

By Stuart Paap

Never Miss an Article or Podcast - Subscribe To Our Newsletter

How would you approach your new manager so you can get their support for your new project? What would you do to convince a colleague to help you meet a critical deadline?

Would your strategy change depending on the person and the context?

Research shows that there are several skills, traits, and behaviors associated with being effective at influencing others – yet there isn’t ONE recipe for success. Every person and situation is unique – requiring a unique mix of skills and a mindful approach to building influence.  

Know Your Influence Style: Start with Self-Awareness

At InfluenceDNA we have surveyed hundreds of biotechnology and pharmaceutical professionals across the globe. We’ve combined the latest research on building influence with thousands of data points to identify six different influencing styles that represent the unique combination of skills, traits and behaviors that are used when influencing others. 

There are six dominant styles that represent the unique combination of skills, traits and behaviors used when influencing others – and each of these styles has a clear motivation behind their approach. 

No one style is better than the other – each has its own strengths and applicability in specific situations. 

The value in knowing your go-to style is to understand your default or natural inclination. 

And the first step? Self-awareness – figuring out where you stand.

When you’re trying to work together to get important things done, do you tend to lead with intuition, connection or data? Are you tuned into the big picture and context or are you more focused on individual relationships? 

Nothing is binary; either this OR that – but it’s helpful to know our predispositions so we can customize our approach as needed.

We need the right tool at the right time to get the job done.

Our “Styles Assessment” at Influence DNA is designed to help provide a deeper understanding of the skills, traits and situations that are most important to you. Your results and the styles also show how different skills and traits can be used strategically together to build influence with others. 

[Interested in knowing your go-to influence style? DM me to request a personalized digital assessment.]

The two “aha moments” most people have when learning about the six different styles is:

  1. Realizing there are different approaches to building influence – situation(s) and dominant style(s) matter
  2. The goal isn’t to become dominant in one style or another – it’s to build a portfolio of skills that you can use across different situations 

The 6 Influence Styles

The six different influence styles can be organized into three categories:

  • Leading with the head; leads with the rational mind; tuned into facts, figures and organizational data:
  • Leading with the heart; leads with emotional intelligence; tuned into the big picture.
  • Leading with the gut; leads with intuition, tuned into others. 

While everyone has a dominant go-to-style, the degree of dominance is different for each person. For some people, their results come back as “hyper-dominant” – meaning that their skills, traits and behaviors strongly align with a specific style. For others, their results come back more “balanced” – meaning that while there may be a dominant and less dominant style – their results are more equally distributed across each style.

Below are the six styles explained – each identifying the unique skills, traits and behaviors that characterize the style. 

Does one style immediately resonate with you or jump out to you? Is there a style that feels unrelatable? Take a look at the skills associated with each style to see the connection between specific skills and different leadership outcomes. 

Reflection is one of the most underused, yet powerful tools for success.

SAGE [Head]

“Experts” who establish trust through credibility, expertise, and organizational intelligence.

The Sage builds trust through credibility, expertise and organizational intelligence. They aren’t just experts – they have integrity, follow-through and are committed to doing their job well. Sages are clearly understood – their motives are transparent and they can be counted on to do what they say they will do.

Top skills: Being a subject matter expert  • Being helpful

Top traits: Curious  • Principled

Top situation: Uses information, facts and figures to develop a sound argument for an idea and lets the data speak for itself.



“Consensus builders” who listen to and acknowledge different viewpoints to build agreement

The  Negotiator understands that influence should be reciprocal.  Negotiators are willing to listen and acknowledge different viewpoints to build rapport. Negotiator influencers are confident and are open to sharing the facts, figures and unique qualities of what they bring to the table.

Top skills: Being helpful  •  Being a subject matter expert

Top traits: Empathetic  •  Curious

Top situation: Listens carefully to understand the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of others to reach an agreement and move forward.



“Communicators” who are skilled at building enthusiasm for transformative ideas 

The Storyteller is skilled at building energy and fueling commitment for a cause. They are adept at gaining consensus through authentic enthusiasm.  Storytellers have a  contagious quality and are memorable communicators.

Top skills: Sharing interests  •  Building Rapport

Top traits: Charismatic  •  Sociable

Top situation: Shares ideas in a way that targets people’s hearts (human impact and outcomes) and connects them to a deeper narrative and sense of purpose. 



“Facilitators” who are strategic about building their social capital.

The Connector values and understands the importance of involving others in decision-making and problem-solving. They enjoy building relationships with others and have an extensive network of relationships. Connectors are mindfully strategic about building their social capital.

Top skills: Networking  •  Sharing interests

Top traits: Sociable  •  Generous

Top situation: Makes connections with others easily both within the team and with new people.



“Problem Solvers” who establish trust and rapport through their authentic interests in addressing the needs of others.

The Caregiver deeply understands the value of giving and the rule of reciprocity – others will respond favorably to generosity. Caregivers don’t just give to get back – they are genuinely committed to helping others and easily establish trust and rapport through their authentic interests in the ideas and needs of others.

Top skills: Being Helpful •  Building rapport

Top traits: Generous  • Empathetic

Top situation: Offers advice, recommendations, tips and assistance without expectation of anything in return.



“Changemakers” who champion a cause and find ways to bring people together to move forward

The Advocate is adept at finding ways to bring people together to solve problems. They understand that a shared identity is key to building connections between themselves and others and are skilled at developing rapport with others quickly.

Top skills: Supporting/Empowering  •  Being helpful

Top traits: Principled  •  Empathetic

Top situation: Highlights both the risks and rewards of your ideas while also looking at the benefit of change.

Start Building Your Influence Today

After reading the styles above, is there one that resonates with you more than the others? Is there a style that you would benefit from learning more about? 

Now is the time to explore new approaches to building influence with(out) authority. Every day you have the opportunity to make a mark on the world through what you say and do, and vice versa.

Read: Why Influence + Trust Are the Currency of Leadership in 2022 – Read article

Watch: What makes us influential? Jon Levy, a behavioral scientist known for his work in influence

Contact: DM me to request your own personal digital influence assessment or learn more about how I work with global companies to coach their emerging leaders.

Additional Reading: