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Try This Powerful Influencing Strategy

Ever wonder why leadership matters? One reason is because good leadership is about positive influence. But that isn't always easy, so here is an approach you can use.


The Tip


Do you ever have difficulty persuading someone to do something for you?

Maybe you can't get them to agree with you, or to see your point of view?

That can be deeply frustrating and that frustration can lead to negativity. When that happens, you become less and less likely to have the influence you want.

Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

So, when you find yourself in a situation like this, grab a piece of paper then follow these steps:

  1. Describe the person who is causing you difficulty. Keep it brief. Name, rank, serial number and some basic facts will do.

  2. Describe the person's behaviours as you see them. What are they doing that frustrates you?

  3. Put yourself in their shoes as much as you can by asking:– What is important to them right now?– What is happening to them at work (or at home) at the moment?– How might this be influencing them? – How do they normally make decisions? – How do they normally like to receive information?– What benefit might they get if they agree with you and/or see your point of view?

  4. Ask yourself, if this person was here right now, what might they say about the issue?

  5. Ask yourself, if an observer was here right now, what might they say about the situation?

  6. How could you frame your needs in a way that benefits them right now?

  7. When will you say that to them?

The final point is important. Make a commitment to yourself. Set a time.

Then, act.

And remember, how ever challenging this may be:

You've got this. I know you have 🤜🤛

Taking This to the Next Level

Some people can find it challenging to do this, particularly if difficulties have been persistent or if the relationship is strained.

If that is the case, my first advice is to acknowledge what you are feeling. Don't deny it, don't push it away and don't pretend it is other than it is.

Say to yourself, "I am angry/frustrated/lacking confidence/confused (or whatever) because of this."

It is helpful to feel that feeling. It is information. It helps you to know where you are coming from.

But it probably isn't helpful in the conversation. Do you respond well to people who are angry with you?

And so, you need to work through it in a safe way. The simple way to do that is to... ...practice!

If you can, find a friend or family member who will let you practice saying what you want to say.

If that is not possible, practice saying it to your mirror.

And if that feels odd, practice with yourself by moving chairs as you roleplay the conversation.

Actually I am not sure that feels any less odd does it 😆! But it works.

So why not give it a go right away?

How it Works

By going through this process, you temporarily walk in the other person's shoes. This is always a helpful thing to do when trying to break down barriers.

But in this case, it also helps you to have influence, subtly, powerfully, by working to address the other person's needs as well as your own.

It's a classic win-win.

The techniques described here are based on the concept of Perceptual Positions which is a useful way of seeing problems from different angles. The positions are:

  • First person, how I see things

  • Second person, how you see things

  • Third person, how someone else sees things

Once you observe a situation from these different perspectives, you can start to get beyond your emotional reaction to a situation, ready to find a practical solution.

Which is what you really, really want.



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