Berger Leadership Blog

Sep 10, 2021 by B. Dan Berger

You Have More Influence Than You Think

bergerIn a recent interview from McKinsey, author and social psychologist Vanessa Bohns discusses failing to recognize our innate ability to influence, resulting in missed opportunities or the misusing of power.

In Bohns’ book, You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters, she offers science-based strategies for observing the effect we have on others. Here are some of her helpful quotes from the McKinsey interview:

“We walk through our lives, and we don’t realize how many people notice us and, because they notice us, how many people might imitate our behavior, or change their behavior because of something we did or said.”

This message highlights the high level of influence that we, as leaders, hold over others. Even in situations where we believe no one is watching, someone may pick up on how we act. It’s important to express the most important values as we go about life in even our smallest daily tasks and motions.

“A lot of research shows that people in power are particularly bad at taking the perspective of people who are in a lower power position from them.”

As a leader, it’s incredibly important to step in the shoes of those that you are leading. This can be somewhat difficult when you have more power and are too busy to recognize the different perspectives of those that work below you. However, getting to know those in your organization on a personal and professional level will only help you be more understanding when trying to step into their shoes.

“In many cases, you’re being harder on yourself than you really need to be, and no one else is being as hard on you as you’re being on yourself.”

Bohns’ most important point revolves around the idea that you are normally harder on yourself than others, so cut yourself some slack and live your truth. In doing so, you will learn to become more mindful and understanding of the influence you really have, and how much people truly look up to you.

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