Tag Archives: Influencing

Influence, Reputation and Power


“In the quantum world, relationship is the key determiner of everything…there is increasing support for his [James Lovelock] hypothesis that the earth is a self-regulating system, a planetary community of interdependent systems that together create the conditions which make life possible.” By Margaret Wheatley

Power can have a negative connotation attached to it, however, all human relationships are based on power (the ability to influence the actions of other people). This is particularly true for business, whether you run your own business, lead a team or are the president of the school committee. The truth is power is a neutral term, one can use it for good or ill.

In a growing business it is necessary to accomplish everything we set up to do and there is nothing wrong with seeking to increase your power, as long as the rights of other people are respected. Most of us rely on power to get things done. Robert Greene in The 48 Laws of Power, argues that no one is completely exempt for dealing with others, which inevitably involves Power.

According to Josh Kaufman, the use of Power typically takes one of two forms:

– Influence, the ability to encourage someone else to want what you suggest

– Compulsion, the ability to force someone else to do what you command

Much has been written about Influencing skills, Dale Carnegie author of How to win friends and influence people says that “The deepest craving in human nature is the craving to be appreciated”. Dr. Robert Cialdini in his great book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion tell us about a Harvard University experiment conducted by Ellen Langer, where people providing a reason for jumping the photocopier’s cue where 95% successful, using a reason as lame as “because”. Humans are predisposed to look for behavioural causes. People will be more receptive to any request if you give them a reason. Any reason will do.

Charles Schwab an American steel magnate who lead Bethlehem Steel to became the second largest steel maker in the United States, and one of the most important heavy manufacturers in the world said “The best way to develop the best that is in a person is through appreciation and encouragement”. Providing a safe environment and making people feel appreciated and important are key elements to influence others in the your organisation, team, or your social interactions. Showing Appreciation (expressing your gratitude for what others are doing for you, even if it’s not quite perfect, Courtesy (politeness, pure and simple “accepting small inconveniences on behalf of another person”), Respect (honoring the other person’s status no matter if lower or higher than yours).

If you treat people with Appreciation, Courtesy and Respect in all circumstances, people will feel safe, important and you will be able to influence and persuade others to do what needs to be done.

Promoting a safer workplace with room for appreciation!