The Art and Science of Influence and Leadership (Part I: The Science)

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Office of War Information, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Influence, the last of the three leader traits to be researched, stands out as the most practical measure of successful leadership. Be warned, though. Just as obedience to authority contains a dark side, so, too, do the methods of influence.

Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert and renowned persuasion expert, calls behavioral psychologist Robert Cialdini the “Godzilla” of persuasion. Cialdini’s research, compiled in various books, lays out in simple language six different ways to influence people.

In his website, Cialdini states, “It is through the influence process that we lead, generate, and manage change. Like most things, the process can be handled poorly or well. It can be employed to foster growth and to move people away from negative choices and in more positive directions, thereby creating the conditions for Continue Reading “The Art and Science of Influence and Leadership (Part I: The Science)”

Is Obedience To Authority A Virtue Or A Crime?

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Advertisement for Milgram Experiment subjects. The original uploader was Poolisfun at Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

World War II marks a turning point in almost every facet of mankind. From science to engineering, from business to politics, to the very core of our culture, the world changed as America rebuilt Europe and reframed Japan. You see a shift from a feudal/monarchical-centric philosophy towards a populace/organizational-centric viewpoint.

Within the academic arena, research on authority moved from the Sociology Department to the Psychology Department. In fact, one of the most famous and useful psychology experiments of the mid-twentieth century represents this shift. It answered the most compelling question regarding the nature of authority to come out of the Second World War.

The Psychological Origins of Authority

You might not recognize the name Stanley Milgram, but you’ll instantly recognize his Continue Reading “Is Obedience To Authority A Virtue Or A Crime?”

The Three Classic Forms Of Authority

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What is “authority” and how does it differ from “power” and “influence”?

Ironically, we can see elements of authority in the original research on power bases as well as an explicit reference to it in research on influence and persuasion. Yet, an authority doesn’t necessarily have influence. And if you don’t have influence, can it really be said that you have power?

Said another way, power is the ability to impose your will upon others, authority is the honest recognition of power by others, and influence is your ability to sway others regardless of your power or authority.

To better understand this, it’s important to explore how scholars have traditionally defined authority. Through this, we’ll see why some “authority” is powerless, why some authority evaporates quickly, and what kind of authority has real staying power.Continue Reading “The Three Classic Forms Of Authority”

The Seven Types of Power And The One Type You Should Avoid

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Power is the “Id” of the leadership triumvirate. It is raw. It is blunt. We often view it as the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B.

That’s the problem with power. It’s too easy. It’s so easy, it becomes a crutch. And you know what it means to use a crutch? It means you can’t stand on your own two feet. It means you have to rely on some artificial device to accomplish your goals.

Does that sound bad? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

That’s the mystery of power. When used correctly, it can help propel you and your team to great heights. When abused, it can lead to distrust, dissension, and mutiny.

The search for power goes back to man’s very beginnings. Military leaders saw it as the path to victory, riches, and glory. Philosophers saw it for what it truly was.

Power isn’t about pushing others off the battlefield. In fact, power isn’t about our Continue Reading “The Seven Types of Power And The One Type You Should Avoid”

What Is A Good Leader?

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We all want to be one. We want our children to be one. And when we’re not one, we want the person in charge to be one.

What is it?

It’s not just a “leader,” it’s a “GOOD leader.”

This represents a significant qualifier. You’ll need to brace yourself for this one. The word doesn’t reflect a moral imperative (yet), it merely alludes to effectiveness.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “but if a leader isn’t moral, why would I ever follow him?”

Let me counter that with a different question: If you find yourself placed in a life or death Continue Reading “What Is A Good Leader?”

How To Steal An Election (And Get Away With It)

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Photo by Obi - @pixel6propix on UnsplashAllow me to disclaim the following up front: I do not condone the stealing of elections. I believe every voter should be given a fair opportunity to vote and that every vote should count. I also don’t condone shoplifting.

Now, back to reality.

First you must recognize that national politics is no longer about doing good. It’s simply a business.

There’s no other way to describe it. When that much money is involved, and people have figured out a way to profit from all that money, well, that’s the very definition of a business.

There’s a word for those who seek to do good through running for public office. We call Continue Reading “How To Steal An Election (And Get Away With It)”

Why It’s Important You Have A High Need For Achievement

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Photo by Ian Stauffer on UnsplashIf you had the choice, would you rather stand on the winner’s podium or watch as someone else stands on that platform?

Be honest, now. When you enter a competition, do you just say you’re there simply for the experience or, deep down, do you imagine yourself finishing first?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve. It’s quite natural and it’s often seen at a young age.

“Since I was a kid, I was always obsessed with achieving better results,” says Alessio Lorusso, CEO & Founder of Roboze, in Bari, Italy and Houston. “I was never satisfied with something if I thought it could be improved or reinvented completely to deliver the best results.”

This is a familiar story. Many business owners had their first taste of entrepreneurship before graduating high school.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur since my early teenage years, probably before I even knew Continue Reading “Why It’s Important You Have A High Need For Achievement”

Why It’s Important For You To Strongly Desire Autonomy

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Photo by Markus Winkler on UnsplashHow do you picture an entrepreneur? In a recent survey by Cox Business, small business owners listed their top three entrepreneurial idols as Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Walt Disney. But another part of that survey may be more revealing.

Roughly two-thirds of the respondents said the desire to be their own boss motivated their entrepreneurial pursuits. This sense of autonomy has come to embody the rugged individualist persona often associated with the entrepreneurial spirit.

“Following a process that does not make sense to me has a strong tendency to undermine Continue Reading “Why It’s Important For You To Strongly Desire Autonomy”

Why It’s Important You Believe You Control Your Own Destiny

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Duke Worne Productions / Duke Worne Productions, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Duke Worne Productions / Duke Worne Productions, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine you’re out walking your dog on a nice sunny morning. As you approach the intersection, you see a car attempt to make a lefthand turn only to be hit by an oncoming car that runs the stop sign. No one’s hurt, but the cars are totaled.

What is your first thought concerning the innocent driver making the turn?

Is it “poor guy, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time”?

Or do you think “even though he had the right of way, he should have made sure the Continue Reading “Why It’s Important You Believe You Control Your Own Destiny”

Why It’s Important You Exhibit Creative Tendencies

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Thanough, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Many aspiring entrepreneurs feel the creative urge represents the most important trait for success. Many great ideas, though, never become viable businesses.

Take a look at some of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.

Did Henry Ford invent the automobile? No. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot first produced a steam-powered automobile in 1769.

Did Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invent the microcomputer in 1979 with the introduction of the Apple ][ computer? No. The French team headed by François Gernelle within a small company, Réalisations & Etudes Electroniqes (R2E), created what they called the “Micro-ordinateur” in 1973.

Did Ray Kroc invent the fast food hamburger joint? No. Most point to White Castle’s 1921 opening of its original location in Wichita, Kansas, as the first fast food hamburger franchise. Heck, Kroc didn’t even invent McDonald’s. He bought the restaurant from founders Dick and Mac McDonald after becoming the chain’s franchising agent in 1955.

What is the importance of creative behavior?

It’s not the ability to come up with an original idea that wins the day. It’s the ability to take Continue Reading “Why It’s Important You Exhibit Creative Tendencies”

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