Help Others Know How to Influence You
To be effective, you need to be open to different viewpoints and perspectives. In fact, diversity of thought leads to more-creative problem solving, higher-quality decision making, and greater innovation. To demonstrate openness, consider yourself a partner in helping others influence you. Tell them what kinds of information will lead you to change your mind. Never use your rhetorical ability to weaken their case — instead, help them strengthen it. For example, if you disagree with your CFO when she tells you that you must reduce headcount immediately, help her by saying something like, “I was disagreeing with you because I thought you were saying we’re facing two quarters of lower earnings. If that’s the situation, I’m willing to deal with the analysts. But if you’re saying we’re really looking at four quarters of lower-than-expected earnings, then I’m willing to make cuts now.” The more others know what will influence you and the more you help them articulate their case, the sooner you can decide whether that information and reasoning warrants changing your mind. After all, if you want others to be open to your influence, you need to be open to theirs.
Adapted from “How Leaders Can Help Others Influence Them,” by Roger Schwarz