2 Things Everyone Should Know About Being a Positive Influence on OthersBy Homaira Kabir
So much of our communication is about influencing others in some way or the other. Whether you're getting your child to tie her shoelaces, your partner to pick up the dry cleaning after work, or your employees to work extra hours to deliver a project on time, how you communicate with them will impact the outcome in more ways than you realize.
Many of us grew up at a time when there was no way you could even question—much less refuse—what adults wanted of you. Parents, teachers, even older cousins often used the power of authority to get you to do most things—especially things they didn't want to do! Some of those early experiences can linger on as more extrinsic forms of motivation where you feel compelled to do certain things even though they feel inauthentic or misaligned with what you want for yourself—such is the miserable world of "shoulds".
Luckily, it’s not so easy to influence by hierarchy in today's world. Most of us have moved past the "socialized mind" where our decisions are based on what others expect of us. We now live in an age of autonomy, where each individual is drawn by their own desires, their own vision for their lives. Workplaces that continue to operate through centralized decision-making risk disengagement, disgruntled employees, and high turnover. Parents who are controlling and don't take out the time to truly connect to their children are often taken aback when their little ones rebel in adolescence. As for intimate relationships, the ones that thrive are often the ones that are not embroiled in a power imbalance—financial, emotional, or social.
If influencing by authority is mostly out, how do we influence those around us? As a leadership coach, I've seen remarkable results when clients value others as whole individuals. This not only means appreciating them as thinking adults capable of making their own decisions, but also connecting with the dreams and aspirations they have for themselves. We are all a mix of head and heart, and the ability to speak to both is what allows us to influence others toward win-win outcomes.
Step 1: Shine the Light
The journey to the head begins with the heart, because the emotional mind is the real driver of the decisions we make. Our first task is to appeal through emotions by connecting to people's needs and drivers. Sometimes they themselves are unaware of these and sometimes they are too afraid to voice them. When we speak to a vision, we ignite their dreams and become their voice. They give us the power to make assertions on their behalf. It is far easier