Influence Tactics

Influence Tactics Mr. Hick has attempted in this article “Influence Tactics” to group the various methods people use in influencing others into eight basic clusters. These clusters are 1) reason, 2) coalition, 3) friendliness, 4) bargaining, 5) assertiveness, 6) higher authority, 7) sanctions and 8) symbol management. Although there are hundreds of “methods” people use to get their way, most can fall under the heading of one of these clusters. Reason is considered one of the most popular means of influencing others.

It is often used in tandem with other methods. With reason, we appeal to someone else using logic, data or information to support our actions. It should be made clear to the other person that this is in fact what we are doing. If we try to reason using a secret agenda it can lead to distrust. I have tried when directing shows to reason with people fairly.

When I take the time to make my motivations clear and “convince” others to see my side I am, more times than not, happy with the results. People in theatre are often a bit more temperamental than your average person. I have found it effective to “massage” them toward my ideas. I would link Coalition and Higher Authority together. The former is enlisting the aid of your allies and supporters to further your requests, while the later uses higher-level authorities to back you in influencing others.

Both can work but I feel coalition is more effective. It provides the additional benefit of influencing others who are not under your authority. I have used this tactic. People are often better convinced by an ally or by the power of a group. It removes the whole stubborn routine of fighting against something because “so and so wants you to.” Another tactic which works well, at least when working with subordinates, is Bargaining.

As long as both sides feel they’ve been treated fairly, it usually produces excellent results. We, as humans, want to feel like we have a say in the matter. If we enter a bargain, we feel obligated to produce. Along with this comes Friendliness. It too can be of great use in getting what you want from others. The most important thing is to be sincere. People see through false behavior and will not trust you if they see it.

On the harder side of things we can use Assertiveness and Sanctions. These can be effective if you are frank with your subordinates. Using this tactic as a manipulative device will only lead to resentment. Sanctions are sometimes similar to bargaining. If you do this behavior you will be rewarded/punished. The last influence tactic is Symbol Management.

Many corporate cultures get desired behavior from employees by enlisting this tool. Symbolism can be very influential. We often do as we see. Proper role models, policies, mottos and positive actions at a firm will often bring desired results. Even in my career, when I have created an atmosphere of hard work and dedication for “our cause,” I have seen great results.

I think the most important thing we must do when we use any of these tactics is to keep our “purpose” clear and vary the ways we go about getting people do what we want. Influence does not have to be a negative event. Business.

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