If you are keen to fast-track your career then learning the science of persuasion can prove to be your biggest asset. Evidently it’s easy for those in authority to be influential but the real challenge lies in influencing others to do what you want without an overt show of power or by making others fearful of consequences.
In today’s competitive environment, mastery of the softer interpersonal skills separates executives who merely survive from those who thrive and grow as leaders. The key is to unlock Aristotle’s three secrets of persuasion — ethos, logos and pathos – and use them in the context of real-world situations.
When a leader has been able to establish his credibility though trust, knowledge and expertise, he is able to persuade and influence his peers much better. He is respected because he is knowledgeable, skillful and innovative –this is when ethos comes into play.
The second mode of persuasion pathos involves emotions or story-building – when a manager narrates stories, creates metaphors to establish a point with his peers or subordinates. Emotions – however unwanted in the workplace – play a powerful role in persuasion and intelligent leaders learn to tap into a person’s emotions to make him conform.
Logos is a mode of persuasion when a leader tries to persuade someone based on pure logic or facts. The Logos appeal also helps in enhancing credibility and trust.
The Harvard Business Review describes this ability to cooperate with and influence peers as lateral leadership among managers. Managers, the world over are being challenged by flattened management structures, outsourcing and virtual teams.
Lateral leadership, counts among a manager’s most essential skills, and comprises a constellation of capabilities—from networking and coalition building to persuading and negotiating.
Though honing these skills takes time and patience, the payoff is worth it. The initiative you’re championing will stand a far better chance of being implemented quickly.
You’ll gain access to the resources you need to carry out the effort. Doors will swing open freely to the key players whose cooperation you need most. And perhaps most important, you’ll achieve the central purpose of managerial work: getting things done through other people—and catalyzing valuable change for your organization.
• Establish personal credibility through knowledge and expertise
• Analyse the workplace to understand equations of power and persuasion
• Cultivate a broad network of relationships with people who support your initiatives
Sathya Menon is the Executive Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.