I was recently interviewed by students at the USC Marshall School of Business - they are candidates for Master's degrees in Leadership and Management. The focus of the interview was how to persuade employees to see your point of view.
Here's the paper (and I didn't edit at all!)
Background: Eric Swenson has over 20 years of experience in management, sales, training and marketing. He has managed hundreds of employees and interviewed over 2,000 people in his career. RSJ/Swenson LLC is a management and human resources consulting firm with offices in California and Nevada.
Interview Summary: Eric shared his insightful thoughts about the leadership and persuasion. For Eric, persuasion is a natural process and he prefers soft tactics. He is always honest to his superiors and subordinates. Eric believes that effective leaders are very expressive when they come to everybody. They are very candid and direct and these personal traits play a key role for persuasion process. According to Eric, the three most important aspects for managing up and down are communication, openness, and setting a positive tone that focuses on the end result.
- Self Persuasion: “If you were in my position, how would you handle my problem?”
- You should let team members identify the solutions on their own. You also remind them why they live in the same organization. This especially helps you deal with some conflicts with your members.
- Logical reasoning:
- You use facts, figures, and belief that your idea is correct. You also consider the goals, needs, and interests of your subordinates/superiors you’re trying to persuade. The more they see an idea can help them, the more likely they are to help you.
- Persuasion Tactics:
- Collaboration: You need to work with your subordinates, not at them, in order to get them to enthusiastically support your requests. You collaborate with team members, rather than using authority. You don’t need to overuse that power. The relationship based on the trust is a key for the collaboration.
- Communication/Honesty: You should facilitate communication and be very honest to your people.
- Improving Persuasive Skills: Appeal to the subject’s self-interest: You make it sure that what you need align with their best interests.
- Present strong evidence to support your views/positions: You do intensive research and show the team members an idea that will likely work.
- Establish credibility: You’re more likely to persuade your subordinates when trust and respect you. You promise to take the blame if it does not go well. This leads you to build up the trust and respect you’re your subordinates.
- Make your objectives clear: You should get your team understand what you are doing and why are why you are doing that.
Decision making is a collective effort: As a leader, you have to be honest to your team members. If you found you made a wrong decision, you would change the decision. There is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake.