Do You Influence or Are You Influential?

We have for too long now believed that influence is the practice of what we “do” to people. We persuade them. We negotiate with them. We manipulate them. We intimidate them. We coerce them. We feel if we get them to do what we want, we are influential.

However, these are external actions. While they may influence others, they don’t make us, at the core, influencers. 

The goal of every leader is to be influential, not by merely using tactics but as an expression of who they actually are.   The good news is that real influence - being influential - can be cultivated, learned, and enhanced. Essentially, becoming influential is a process.

Influence and Rest: Getting Better at Leading Through Resting

So you’re an influencer, and one that goes 900 mph all the time. Guess what? Without rest, sooner or later, you are going to blow a gasket.

I see it all the time. Men and women who think they are the one super human immune to the fact that we are all, in fact, human.

Blowing a gasket looks different for everyone.  Sometimes it might be a string of snappy, unkind responses. It could be a poor decision made in the fog of fatigue. It ‘s possible that something much more disastrous could occur resulting in broken relationships or destroyed health.

Staying sharp as an influencer requires a quick mind clear of cobwebs.

Yet the current leadership culture often pushes against this, all the while ignoring the axiom, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Influence Tactics for Getting a Bite of Ice Cream

In 1965, an experiment was created where three children were put in front of a camera and asked who was the most patient. Two of the three kids raised their hand. The host gave the child who did not raise his hand an ice cream cone and told the two “patient” children they must wait until later. Then the host left the room and  hilarity ensued.

Today I want to illustrate and bring to life our most read article, Eleven Influence Tactics and How to Excel at Each.

Because these kids use the tactics so clearly and blatantly, it’s a fun way to review several of the tactics.

The two children attempting to influence the ice cream holder quickly flip back and fort between positive-based influence tactics and negative-based influence tactics.

Influence Through Storytelling

"Everything starts with a story."  - Joseph Campbell

When we look at human’s earliest writings or even pictographs, we see them telling stories.

We know this to be true. When you return to work each Monday, you probably get asked, “How was your weekend?” You don’t then list out a set of facts. Most likely, you tell a compelling story to reveal why your weekend was either amazing or horrible.

Every year companies spend billions of dollars on branding — logos, color palettes, taglines, and more — yet they often spend little to no time on the most important piece of their brand, which is creating experiences that create stories. Stories are one of the most powerful ways to create connection and trust with others.

You also need to create your own personal story.

Influence Tactics: Getting A Better Performance Review, Raise or Promotion at Work

We all want success at work. A recent study reveals how to use influence tactics to get better performance reviews or a raise/ promotion. Interestingly, these two types of outcomes actually require slightly different tactics. Do you know which type of influence to use for each?

Over 40 years ago, Goffman (1955) introduced to the behavioral sciences the idea that people consciously manage the impressions they convey to others in interpersonal interactions. Goffman contended that people act out roles in efforts to establish identities they wish to convey for personal gain.

It was also intriguing to suggest that people alter the image they choose to present, and the strategy used to present this image, based on the situation they are in and the outcomes they hope to achieve.

Influencing Millennials: Thoughts On Simon Sinek’s Millennial Video

Recently, Simon Sinek’s video on Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000, has been creating a buzz online.

In the video, he talks about dealing with Millennials in the workplace with some astute wisdom. If you haven’t seen it yet, it will be a few minutes very spent.

After watching the video, I began to think of prescriptive ways in which we can positively influence Millennials to counter some of the negative things Simon Sinek has observed about them. Granted, not every Millennial fits the general mold and coaching is individual, but the times do shape us in some way or another.

Here are 5 Ways to Better Influence Millennials ...

Our Top 5 Most Read Articles on Influence

In the spirit of the holidays and wrapping up your year, I wanted to give you a glimpse of our 5 Most Read Articles of 2016. Each of these articles has proven to be valuable to growing your influence. We’ll start the drumroll and count down from five to one based on the number of readers. 

How To Stop Lying: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Three

In our first article in the series, we learned how we ever so subtly try to maneuver the truth (or simply tell a bold-faced lie).

The second article provided the reasons why we are motivated to stop short of the full truth.

In our final article in the series, we’ll learn how to stop lying and how to start being truth tellers. I’ve included the summary reason why we are tempted to lie along with realizations that help us not succumb.

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Two

In our previous article, we looked at how we lie. Sometimes is not outright or bold-faced, but a subtle maneuvering of the truth, which is still a lie. Today, we shift to the root reasons of WHY we lie.

Why We Lie: The Main Reason

The main reason we lie comes down to a single word: FEAR!

We are afraid that the truth will damage us, our cause, or our case in some unfavorable way, so we exchange the truth for a lie.  Fear is one of the greatest motivators of all time. (Note, I am not saying it is a positive motivator, simply a powerful motivator). Fear drives us to do irrational things.

One author states, “In short, fear is a motivating force arising from the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it.”

Lying is typically a flight mechanism attached to fear. We don’t like what is presenting itself, and so we attempt to manipulate the truth for our own protection or gain. 

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part One

The story is told of a country store owner who was in the back of his store. He saw his young clerk at the front talking to a customer. He was horrified as he heard the young man tell the woman, “No, ma’am we don’t have any of that and looks like we won’t for quite a while.”

The store owner ran to the front frantically and blurted out, “Yes, we have it on order, and it’ll be here next week. Don’t you worry about it.”

As soon as the woman left, the owner reprimanded the clerk. “Don’t you EVER tell a customer that again. You have to cover up the fact that we are out of it with the statement that it’s on its way, even if you know it’s not on order.”

“Yes sir,” dutifully responded the young clerk.

“By the way, what was she wanting?” asked the store owner.

“Rain,” responded the clerk.

Telling a small or large lie has become second nature to many of us. We are even encouraged by our superiors or co-workers to stretch the truth. While lying may serve to offer a short-term relief, it ultimately breaks long-term trust, something that is much more problematic than a short-term problem fix. As one of the Seven Influence Traits™, lowering our trustability lowers our integrity AND our ability to influence.

We don’t often see that we are lying because we simply maneuver the truth, obscuring areas we don’t want uncovered.


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