Being an effective manager is far more than telling people what to do. In fact, ordering people around has little to do with managing, and more to do with bossing. While many people use these terms interchangeably, they’re not one in the same. To manage someone is to be able to harness their assets, compensate for their shortcomings, and inspire them to do their best – and beyond.
Are you an effective manager?
Even if you answered yes to the question, there’s always room for improvement. One of the most effective ways to improve your role as manager is to strengthen your abilities of persuasion. Persuasion isn’t a bad thing. It’s the ability to influence someone to reach their potential; it’s the ability to influence someone to work within a group toward a greater goal. Persuasion is about managing your employees, not bossing them around.
The tools of persuasion you need to manage effectively
One of the reasons why managers throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America have a hard time persuading and influencing their employees is because they can’t explain why people make particular decisions. But being able to explain these factors that fuel our decisions gives you the ability to use these decisions to get more positive responses. Take, for example, tool #1:
1. The feeling of indebtedness – Humans feel indebted to those who do something for them, or give them something. That’s why marketers often use giveaways. Our natural response is that we “owe” that brand or company something in return. As a manager, you can use this as a way to keep your employees loyal and dedicated. By offering things such as a longer lunch once in a while, or the choice of coming in late (or leaving early) once a month, you’re feeding into your employees’ feelings of indebtedness. The thought that might run through their mind is, “I can’t believe I get to leave early on Friday. I have to make it up to my boss somehow for letting me do this.”
2. A promise kept – People like to stick to their word. Think of it as a springboard off #1 – rather than feeling indebted to you, if they make a promise they feel indebted to themselves. As a manager, you can use this natural response as a way to ensure productivity remains at a high level. Discuss, in detail, the obligations and tasks your employees are responsible for. Have them sign off on when and how they’ll complete a task, so that they have – in writing – a promise to themselves that they feel obligated to keep.
3. Act like a manager – In the TV program “Friends”, one of the characters, Chandler Bing, couldn’t understand why his employees no longer liked him, despite his being a “cool manager” and being a co-worker of theirs just a few months prior. That’s because like it or not, he was a manager, their boss. Dynamics changed. Your employees may not feel comfortable being your out-of-office pal the moment you’re a manager, but they do respect authority. But a title alone doesn’t cut it. In order to be a leader, you must act like a leader. Don’t blur lines; don’t try to be something that you’re not. Earn your employees’ respect by being the authoritative leader, and they’ll be far easier to persuade.
Persuasion is not magic – it’s a science
These tools are inspired by Dr. Robert Cialdini, whose book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” is an industry leader in the world of persuasion and influence. There are other methods toward persuasion (heck, he co-wrote a book titled “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Persuasive”), but these three are clear-cut simple steps any manager can take toward being a far more effective and resilient leader.
Implementing these tools, however, can be a challenge Behavior change is always difficult. Turning toward professional help, from workshop and seminar specialists such as AACT-NOW can provide you the support, tools and strategy necessary to develop yourself into an effective leader that inspires change and productivity.
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