Question Joan Business & Management

Influence, persuasion and counter manipulation, how can acquiring these skills provide improved positive outcomes for a manager?

Influence, persuasion and counter manipulation, how can acquiring these skills provide improved positive outcomes for a manager?

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Answer Internal Staff

To successfully control the actions of people, managers need to use methods that can alter behaviour in a way that is effective, but practical.

Influence draws upon exerting a position of greater power (in authority, social standing, experience etc.) to make an individual of lesser power alter their behaviour. Influence is a key aspect of organisational hierarchy and a major source of day-to-day managerial control. However, if used frequently, and in excess, resentment can be generated. This problem is avoided through skilled influencing - which is subtle, and may be hardly noticed. Good influence requires the least attention from a manager, as the pressure is implicit within their instructions.

Persuasion focusses on convincing a person that altering their behaviour is the best option, which can be a difficult feat dependant on charisma and building relationships, and as such is highly skill based. Successful persuasion can lead to good outcomes as the individual persuaded gets the impression of involvement in the decision, and a sense of retained, or even improved, personal control. It can help develop long term relationships and trust and so is a powerful method that pays off in the long term.

Manipulation uses influence and persuasion to control someone’s behaviour – but generally in a sinister or negative way, for the manipulators own benefit. Counter manipulation depends first on recognising manipulation, by knowing the skills of influence and persuasion. This allows for the individual to avoid being controlled by others. This is very important for mangers, who need to ensure their duties to their role are not impeded by individuals seeking personal benefit. They will be able to defend both themselves and their subordinates from individuals seeking to gain control and will also benefit by recognising manipulative individuals and getting insight into their intentions and methods.