Monday, December 7, 2009

How to influence others.

Post 382 - Leadership is a non-coercive influencing relationship, not an authority relationship and it’s a process that's entirely distinct from management. Management is a continuous on-going activity, while leadership is a once-in-a-while requirement. Leadership isn’t what one individual labeled a leader does, but what leaders and collaborators do together to achieve a common purpose. Leaders and collaborators share a relationship where they can influence each other. Everyone in this relationship is engaged in the process of leadership. There are no followers. Different people assume leadership roles for different issues.

Robert B. Cialdini lists the following six universal principles of social influence:

1. Reciprocation (we feel obligated to return favors performed for us),

2. Authority (we look to experts to show us the way),

3. Commitment / consistency (we want to act consistently with our commitments and values),

4. Scarcity (the less available the resource, the more we want it),

5. Liking (the more we like people, the more we want to say yes to them), and

6. Social proof (we look to what others do to guide our behavior).

The Seven Cs of Social Influence encompass: caring, coaching, correcting, confirming, collaborating, clarifying, and conciliating as proven ways to influence behavior.

Here are three tips to assume authority in any situation, whether or not you're the officially designated leader:

1. Your genuine excitement about a project will motivate others to become engaged and care about it. Enthusiasm is contagious.

2. No one wants to be responsible for making you feel important. Leave your ego out of it. Assume authority by demonstrating excellence in your field, not by soliciting the approval of others.

3. When you don't have formal authority propping you up, others will be suspicious if you grab the reins too forcefully. Don't be over-invested in the outcome. Lead quietly, get everyone involved, and ask plenty of questions along the way.

"Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence," according to Charles de Gaulle.


Don Frederiksen said...

Hi John,

Nice post.

I really like your definition of leadership and the clear distinction from management. I agree that the roles are very different.

I also appreciate the seven c's. Nice.


john cotter said...

Thank you Don. Maybe I need to write a piece on followership.......

Unknown said...

Love all these posts. This one is particularly helpful and extremely easy to implement and follow. Thank you!