How To Influence Human Behavior Without Manipulation

by | Nov 30, 2021

As leaders, part of our job is to INSPIRE. To CHAMPION. MOTIVATE. To set a VISION for our team and MOVE them toward it.

But if you’ve been a leader for any amount of time, I’m sure you know first-hand that this can sometimes be a challenge.

As leaders, in order to achieve goals consistently, we must effectively INFLUENCE others. But the negative side of influence is MANIPULATION.

Have you ever tried to influence your team toward a specific outcome and just felt weird about it?

Do you ever shy away from attempting to persuade a team member about something because it feels more like manipulation than influencing?

If so, you’re not alone.

A leader’s task is to influence others in order to get results. There’s no way around that. So how do we accomplish that goal of INFLUENCE without MANIPULATION?

It starts with identifying the difference between the two:

→ Influence is defined as: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.

→ Manipulation is defined: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.

Ultimately the difference between these two is MOTIVE. Is the motive for the good of the whole or for one’s own advantage?

Understanding your motive for influencing, persuading, directing is essential.

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re using INFLUENCE rather than MANIPULATION with your team to get results. Ask yourself:

  • Is my motivation selfish (ego-related) or is the desired outcome for the good of the team, department, organization?
  • Am I sincerely making space for or being open to the opinions, preferences, and feedback of others?
  • Do I try to get people to answer how I think it should be, or am I inviting them to truly problem-solve with me?
  • Am I really be open to the answers and solutions that will get us to the goal, even if it’s different from what I would do?

INFLUENCE is a key attribute of effective leadership, and one of the skillsets that can develop further by embracing a coaching mindset in your leadership.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Coach Approach to Leadership, schedule a call with us!