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Persuasion and Leadership

31 January 2017

In some circles, persuasion gets a bad rap. More often than not, many of us associate persuasion with something devious and underhanded.

If you hold to this view, you may mistakenly believe that persuasion is something that's only used to manipulate someone into doing something that's against their best interests, such as paying a premium price for something that holds very little real value.

You might even have a picture of real or imagined villain in your mind's eye when you hear the word persuasion. After all, the evil queen in the Snow-White fable, disreputable used car salesmen, or even a grifter whose con you might hear about from your local news use some form of persuasion to beguile others.

Persuasion, like any other skill, can be used for both good and evil ends.

In reality, persuasion is a necessary talent that helps us to motivate others to come together and work for a cause that's greater than any one person's individual motivations and dreams. Persuasion is that ability to convince ourselves and others to look deep within ourselves and find the energy, passion, and determination to keep our focus and continue working hard to fulfill a goal even when the odds are long, the road difficult, and our fears great.

Persuasion is an art that all great leaders master and use to bring out the best in everyone. The key is to use your powers of persuasion for good.

When Persuasion is Used in a Positive Manner and for the Good of All

Many mistakenly believe that in order to convert others to a shared goal via persuasion, one must use some form of falsehood, flattery, bribery, begging and possibly intimidation or threats. These methods are not only morally repugnant, but they really do not work and should always be avoided.

Persuasion is a learning process that involves open communication and emotional intelligence.

When a good leader practices persuasion, he or she will look for opportunities to open doors of communication and increase dialogue with all parties and actively listen to others' feelings, opinions and impressions. These leaders are known for having high ethical standards and they look for common ground and connect with their peers and associates on an emotional level.

As time goes on, the persuasive leader will look for ways to actively engage their peers and associates in discussions and even debates about the issues and possible remedies. Leaders seek to convert others to their point of view by asking them to listen to the evidence as well as their proposals and then ask others to provide their own constructive feedback and input.

At its essence, persuasion is as much about compromise as it is about conversion. It is a process where the best leaders take the input and ideas that they receive from others and use it to improve their own goals and plans. Persuasion performed in this manner shows respect for everyone involved and helps each person become personally invested and an actual stakeholder in the results.

How persuasive are you? Do you use persuasion to increase dialogue and learn from others to achieve more, or is it something you are fearful of and avoid?

If you would like to learn more about the aspects of persuasion and how to use it to achieve positive impact and change in your organisation, why not get in touch with us and ask about our Executive Coaching and Mentoring sessions. Together we can help you to learn how to use skills such as persuasion to increase your performance and results.

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