Leadership Influence vs. Manipulation | #peopleskills

Leadership Influence: See Inspiration not Manipulation

I was surprised when some professionals at a conference reacted negatively to the word influence. They associated it with politicians who try to sway opinions their way. They saw influence as manipulation and even lying. That’s quite a departure from the often held view that “leadership is influence.” ~ John C. Maxwell

How do you see leadership influence — positive or negative?

Leadership Influence: Image is poster saying everyone is an influencer.

Leadership Influence vs. Manipulation: Image by BK via Flickr.

Image by BK via Flickr Creative Commons License

Leadership Influence vs. Manipulation

Each person is an influence for good or bad. Great leadership influence isn’t about convincing people to think their way. Leadership influence creates a picture and invites others to see it through their own eyes. As everyone shares their views, they influence.

Manipulation …

  • Disregards other’s views and talents.
  • Is opportunistic and driven by selfish gain.
  • Hints/tells vs. discovers.
  • Spins and skews the truth their way.
  • Withholds information to further their angle and purpose.
  • Focuses on people who can serve them; ignores those who can’t.

Leadership influence …

  • Discovers and seeks to understand not to convince.
  • Stimulates other’s influence.
  • Asks and listens vs. tells.
  • Honors emotions doesn’t play on them.
  • Respects people for who they are.
  • Awakens a vision so everyone can influence the results with their talents.
  • Ignites diverse views and opens minds for mega collaboration.
  • Transcends the moment and echoes resilience far and wide.
  • Draws on professional people skills to balance communication and care.
  • Uses honesty and restraint so people can come to a decision vs. being told what to do.

Instead of labeling all leadership influence as manipulation, see what true influence is. It honors and inspires. It connects and creates. Then embrace it. Model it. Participate in it!

Question: How do manipulators affect others – short & long term?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
18 Things Respected Well-Liked Leaders Consistently Do
Collaboration: Seek Opportunities, Cut Opportunists

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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10 Responses to “Leadership Influence vs. Manipulation | #peopleskills”

  1. Love this Kate! Real leadership is NOT manipulation!
    Fortunately I’ve only met two people in real life that I would call “master manipulators” -sadly, both of them destroyed trust, teams and lives.
    1. Both were very intelligent.
    2. Both could be very charming and funny.
    3. Both were experts at giving the right impression to the people they wanted something from but not afraid to let some of their innards hang out in front of others.
    4. Both were bullies that constantly planted seeds of doubt, and then nurtured those seeds with gossip and lies until they developed into full-grown fear.
    5. And both lived in constant fear of being discovered for who they really were.

    Real leaders are consistent, fair, and explainable.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Spot on Chery. We have all met them and we all know how it feels — horrible. Love your answer to the question I pose and am very grateful for your comment here!

      Warmest thanks,

  2. Chandu says:

    Thanks Kate for sharing thsee very apt difference between Manipulation & Influence my current line Manager is very manipulative your article reinforced my thought process in general, & towards him in particular

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I feel for your situation Chandu. It’s very difficult to work with/for someone manipulative.

      A few suggestions to maintain your own morale:

      • Stay focused on the work and achieving things vs. trying to change him/her
      • Be around positive people/behavior in your personal life
      • Find happiness in your own strengths and healthy behaviors

      Many thanks for sharing your story here.

  3. Tom Rhodes says:

    Wonderful post Kate. Your right influence paints the picture. The person chooses what to see and how to react to what they have seen or heard. I am afraid in the current political climate we are seeing more manipulation than influence.

    Real leaders influence. They paint a picture that includes empathy and integrity. They give a vision of future, ask good questions and look for a better alternative. They don’t push people to an answer they bring them along for the ride.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      So true Tom. Great leaders really do paint a picture of integrity, empathy, and courageous caring honesty.

      Always pleased to see your insights on these posts.


  4. […] Leadership Influence: See Inspiration not Manipulation Written by: Kate Nasser […]

  5. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate,

    When you put leadership next to any other word then it definitely means inspiring collectively to achieve a common goal in the mind of the leader and in the heart of the followers…


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Inspiring collectively — great phrase Khalid. Many don’t think of it this way. Leaders may light the initial fire yet true leadership sets a spark going among everyone so they can collectively inspire.

      Many thanks for adding your voice to this discussion!

  6. […] Do you see leadership influence as manipulation? It isn't. It inspires & ignites diverse views. It awakens & explores. Insight fr The People Skills Coach™.  […]

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