“Shows the rare ability of being able to manipulate people (in a positive way) without their
noticing the manipulation.”
That quote was Bullet #6 on Page 14 of my 21-page DISC profile assessment report under the category of “Strength Based Insights.”
When I read that, I was slightly offended. “I don’t manipulate people!” Rarely do you ever hear that word used in a positive context, right? They even specified “in a positive way” to make that clear in my results. But when I looked up the definition of the word (because you can’t have a great blog post without a dictionary definition, #sarcasm) this is what I found:
The first two definitions are for the most part positive. Manipulation doesn’t have to be negative – it can also be to influence with skill. And if you are going to be a great leader, you’ve got to be able to influence well because that’s what leaders do – we influence. We also serve and initiate and lead by example, but if we aren’t making an influence, we probably aren’t making an impact.
Inspiring others can come naturally to certain personality types that are in touch with the emotional and social cues of people around them. They can adapt their communication, pick up on subtle unspoken needs and meet the person where they are in a way to activate and motivate them.
For other leaders with different personality styles and strengths, this can be more difficult. If they are a very practical person, then they may try to compel someone with facts and statistics and spreadsheets. The only problem with this is that facts don’t compel people. The best ideas in the world don’t compel people.
And most of all, an invitation to experience something bigger than ourselves does.
Martin Luther King Junior didn’t have hundreds of thousands of people following him because he shared appalling facts and statistics about African-Americans in slavery. He spread a vision about equality and invited people to be a part of a movement. He communicated values and gave them something greater than themselves to identify with.
If you want to influence people well, you need to be passionate, communicate values and invite them to experience something bigger than themselves.
Running a marathon isn’t about covering 26.2 miles…
It’s about challenging yourself to do something you never thought you could do. It’s about who you are and becoming the type of person you want to be.
Creating a new product at work isn’t about the item or the idea…
It’s about providing something for the marketplace that no one else is offering. It’s about serving the individual. It’s about offering help and hope to someone in need.
Setting a budget for your family isn’t about numbers or categories for cash…
It’s about having goals as a family that move your lives in the direction of your dreams. It’s about putting your values and priorities on paper.
Statistics, facts, logic and proven methods are necessities to backing up any initiative but they will never be able to carry it. You have to be able to first inspire, activate, motivate and influence. That’s the reason that Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has sold over 15 million copies. This art of influencing is core to success in the workplace and in life.
And when you become skilled at it, you will soon realize the great responsibility that comes with this new talent: the integrity of your intention. Because if you use your capacity for impact in a negative way, you shift from “influencing with skill” to “devious manipulation.” But that’s another post for another day.
Whether you are the leader of a corporation or the leader of your family, being able to develop this skill of influencing will be key to your success at having a following, furthering your vision and making an impact in this world.