By Jas Singh
There is a big difference between manipulation and persuasion.
Convincing or forcing someone unethically to do something for someone’s personal benefit is obviously wrong.
But persuading someone ethically to do the right thing is an essential trait in leadership.
We all know of leaders who have helped others overcome addiction, develop more empowering habits and even take a stance against oppression through their rightful powers of persuasion.
And even in our everyday lives, all of us – whether it’s convincing our children to do the right thing, or help an indecisive client make a commitment – could benefit from increasing our powers of persuasion.
So how do you do it?
Here are three tools great leaders use to persuade others.
Any master sales person will tell you, that even with the most rational thinking, facts and figures rarely inspire us to action.
We all know that sugar, cigarettes and fast food will eventually kill us yet even with the mountain of food label warnings and healthcare reminders billions of people continue with these old habits every day.
What really causes us to change is emotion.
And emotion is created by stories.
Since the beginning of time, the greatest leaders have always has an innate ability to tell engaging and captivating stories. It allows them to connect emotionally with their followers and both influence and inspire them.
Stories are more powerful than any PowerPoint or RFP.
Great leaders tell great stories.
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One of the major barriers to persuading others is indecision.
Many people may agree with what you have to say, but still never take action. They’re so indecisive that they’d rather make no decision at all – even if that means continuing to suffer.
And so we continue to try and persuade them, only to continually be let down time after time.
The only way to deal with indecisiveness is to force others to make a decision. By putting in place a deadline.
The best hiring manager I have ever worked with insists that any job offers are accepted or rejected within 48 hours. He doesn’t get involved in bidding wars with other companies. He forces candidates to make a decision and ironically hardly ever has job offers rejected.
As long as deadlines are realistic and fair, they can be a valuable tool in persuading others.
Great leaders don’t keep waiting for others to decide.
Us humans can be incredibly paranoid creatures.
It’s understandable. Which others species steals things from each other whilst pretending to be friends?
Over the years, mankind has committed every thinkable type of crime on fellow mankind and so all of us have a natural level of suspicion built in.
Even with the most helpful of people we still tend to ask: “what’s in it for them?”. In such cases its often really hard to change people one-on-one. Pride, resentment or suspicion may cause another not to heed advice.
Thankfully there is a much easier way.
As social creatures, we are much more likely to be persuaded and comply with others if we feel part of a larger group. It gives us a sense of belonging and meaning and often we even start to care more about not letting down the group than our own individual preferences.
Throughout history, the greatest leaders of all have realized that the easiest way to persuade even the most stubborn and resistant of people is through the support of others. Rather than rely on persuading people through individual ability, the best way to inspire others into action is through demonstrating support from the wider population.
As social creatures we don’t want to be forced into a decision.
But we will always notice those who inspire others.
Persuasion used in the right way is an essential skill every leader needs to develop.
To do so, it’s essential to have the right tools developed and at one’s disposal.
Hiring managers can gain much from those people who use the right tools to persuade others and ensure co-operation and respect in the workplace.
How do you persuade others?
If you are a hiring manager and want to hire outstanding people, please reach out here