MANIPULATION VS INFLUENCING
As managers we are expected to bring results, ensure our team performs and is dynamic in reaction to many unplanned or unforeseen situations. We know our team, our environment and have mastered the art of assessing the situation at hand. If I take this approach, what would happen, how would this person react, how would my environment react, how does the action reflect on myself as manager? We weigh the options and their potential outcomes against each other and pick the most suitable.
Often this process is done in our minds almost as an automated program. If we take a moment to reflect, what have we done? Have we attempted to manipulate or influence our environment? Manipulation being defined as taking intended actions to improve ourselves at the costs of others, influencing being defined as providing support for others to bring out the best in themselves. So when the final push for getting the sales target comes up, are we pushing our team with bonuses, being unsatisfied with members not willing to go to extremes, using individual team members' private situations and characters to get more effort out of them for the company? In the end we can ask Christina for overtime as she wants to get that promotion, with Jack we are acting tough as he is afraid to lose his job just having bought that apartment, Nick is a team player so if both Jack and Christina will do weekend work he will not say no. Result by manipulation.
Now can you imagine a situation where the team comes up with the path to follow? That as a manager we enable the team to set the approach they feel is most likely to be successful and we enable them by removing obstacles along the way? Perhaps as simple as arranging a car to use for visits, making sure the IT team is available over the weekend, making sure the sales samples come in a few days earlier from production or having the review times for contract at your legal team reduced. Here we enable, listen, empower. Often with greater results than by manipulation. For sure our team spirit and attrition numbers will be better.
Influencing means being empathic, understanding, providing what is needed and the ability to handle your own insecurities. A path requiring a good courageous and honest look at yourself. Can you transform yourself to become an influencer?