The Power of Influence

There are two ways leaders motivate people to do what they want—power and influence.

People may give us our way—out of fear or respect—because of our power. But they might not agree with us.

The goal of influence is to motivate others to want what we want. Influence is the most desirable way to effect lasting change because it produces commitment, not just compliance. Even when influence fails, it builds goodwill. Steps to influence and make friends.

  • Present the facts. You won’t get far unless you explain the arguments supporting your view. This includes doing the necessary cost-benefit analyses.
  • Appeal to emotions. If logic fails, present a vision of your plan that appeals to the feelings and values of others.Example: “If we meet this goal, our team’s reputation—and regard for your personal expertise—-will grow.” This type of argument creates excitement and motivation.
  • Make it his/her idea. Draw the other person into a dialogue at the end of which he wants what you want because he helped devise the plan.
    Beware: As you might not get exactly what you want because you must accommodate the other person. Sometimes stating your views first will move that person toward your direction.

Tackling Conflict

  • All leaders run into conflict. The easiest solution is to accommodate the other person’s desires if possible. That usually makes him more cooperative.
  • Helpful When tensions run high, break off negotiations temporarily. Don’t let anyone walk out of the room a loser.
  • Differences of opinion are a source of creativity. With good people, you want those differences to bubble up freely.

John Hook, DPA, business consultant and professor of management at Mount St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, MD. He is the author of The Agile Manager’s Guide to Influencing People. Velocity.