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EI Tip: Influencing vs. Forcing



“I strongly disagree. Plus, it is my area of expertise. I get to make the call.”

Yes, I may have actually said something pretty close to that in one of our website meetings. I may have even claimed that I wasn’t defensive – just right!

It’s possible to get my way with that type of strong, demanding style because I can be quite forceful and intimating.

However, that was not necessarily the best path for leading. Leadership isn’t about getting my way or showing that I am in charge. Often the best leaders are those willing to:

  • be clear about who will decide

  • own up to their emotional investment, and

  • open the door for other opinions

That is influencing instead of forcing.

Influence comes when I am willing to not get my own way. Instead of being certain and demanding, I opt to be clear and then see what happens next.

“I disagree, and in this moment, because it’s my area of expertise, I feel a touch defensive and want to make the call. However, I would like to hear your thoughts.“

A simple adjustment in delivery can make a huge difference.

In this case it also resulted in a much better end product!

Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell are Coaches, Consultants, and Speakers at thrive! inc. (www.thriveinc.com) They help business leaders and their teams use the energy of conflict, rather than – avoid or defuse it – to get to creative, innovative, profitable business results. You can see their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! On YouTube. They would be happy to coach you, consult with your team, or to speak at your next event. Contact them at thrive@thriveinc.com


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