By Tom Fee
Leadership is the ability to get people to follow you. So how do you do that? Influence. Dan Crosby, PhD, of IncBlot, outlined the psychology for the 6 Pillars of Influence in his SHRMATL 2013 conference presentation. It has less to do with your title and more to do with your approach. You have to learn how to package and deliver your recommendations in a way that is attractive and enticing. So here are the laws that good leaders use to influence others:
1- Reciprocity – you have to give to get, kindness for kindness. People have a natural need to return a favor with a favor. But watch out, women and southerners have been taught to underplay the significance of their contribution. When you have done a favor, accept their thanks graciously, but in a way that clearly underlines the value of the favor and relationship.
2- Scarcity – people want what they can’t have, because it is rare or the opportunity is slipping away. When you make a recommendation, make sure that you reinforce the consequences of not accepting the offer. Most people are two times more upset about a potential loss, than attracted by an opportunity. Also, clearly outline what needs to be done to implement the plan, people often fail to connect the action to the benefit.
3- Authority – people trust others with experience, expertise and credentials. If you don’t have them, quote the opinion of someone who does. And remember that you depend on others to build your authority, so constantly reinforce the authority of those in your group to build your own. The best approach is a subtle approach, when underscoring your authority start by admitting a minor weakness and then offer your most authoritative evidence; “lower their guard and then counter punch”
4- Commitment and Consistency – people stick once they commit, even to a small commitment. So get people to commit to something, anything, and they will be one step closer to sticking to the succeeding decisions.
5- Consensus – people have a herd mentality and they look to others for approval. If you can get some people to commit others will follow. You can leverage the unseen “they”, just like the advertising that tells you that everyone else uses a product. Surprisingly, the merit of an idea has less to do with the adoption of an idea than the adoption of others.
6- Liking – like speaks to like. People tend to agree with people who are just like them. So, position your approach and appeal to appear to have commonality with your audience. Make them laugh, be attractive (well groomed), share common stories, pay compliments and show that you have a common struggle. Take the time to recognize a person’s personal Brand (their clothes, hobbies, tastes, style) and compliment them on it.
That’s it – 6 Pillars that will make you much more influential. It has to do more with building your credibility in a group and using relationships effectively, than it does with title. Take the time to build these six capabilities and you will find your influence and impact growing in your organization and life.
Tom Fee is the Managing Partner of Verity Partners, a consulting firm that helps drive new strategies to successful execution. He brings over 30 years of experience and expertise in business analysis, design and implementation with over 100 companies (consulting at Booz, Deloitte, Verity Partners). Currently Tom is developing new approaches to effective change by focusing on individual learning and adoption. SHRM Atlanta was thrilled to have Tom as a part of our #SHRMATL13 Press Team providing media coverage of our annual conference!