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July 3, 2017

The Opposite of Influence is…

There are many kinds of leaders. Too often we confuse a forceful personality with leadership. This is a mistake.
(Henry H. Neff)

Some people, and indeed some cultures, equate leadership with force, the ability to make others do anything. These people admire the strong personality of someone who dictates the terms of every agreement, intimidates those around her, and won’t take crap from anybody without giving it right back and then some. The portraits of these types of leaders are stern eyes, with a penetrating gaze, communicating nothing but uber-seriousness.

 

This is not human leadership, however. It is mammalian, but not human.

 

See, trying to lead people like the King of the Jungle may get some things accomplished, but it never lasts; this kind of brute force always, eventually, runs into a stronger force. We see this all the time in autocratic dictatorships.

 

Influencing people to work together, seeking to match others’ self- interests with the group’s main interests…that’s a job for an evolved, adult human.

 

If you find yourself as a parent, or coach, or boss, repeatedly reminding people of your position of authority, you are guilty of trying to force people to behave. And that’s the opposite of influence. You might as well start roaring.

 

Peace begins with pause,

 

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