Proactive Influencing Tactics for Success

Sridhar, the Product Manager wants to assign a new task to his subordinate Raman, who has skills to do it well. The task is to conduct a study on ways to improve customer service, and the Product Manager needs to get this information. Raman is reluctant to do the task because it is distantly related to his job, and the other job responsibilities are already overwhelming. What could be the ways or tactics to influence Raman to carry out the task in an effective way?

Leaders need to be influential to carry out their requests, to implement decisions, and to support the proposals. However, influencing skills are important even if you are not in a leadership position. You might be required to influence peers, subordinates, supervisors, or customers.

We will discuss the proactive influence tactics for success. The target person is the person we want to influence and the person who is assigned the task of influencing the target person is a change agent.

Types of proactive influence tactics

Rational Persuasion: The change agent/leader uses logical arguments and factual evidence to show a proposal or request is feasible and relevant for attaining important task objectives.

  • Explain the importance of the task or the proposal.
  • Support your request with facts and logic.
  • The alternative suggested is the best, provide evidence that the proposal is feasible, is better than competing ones.

” Raman, I want you to take this study from me. This study will make your profile stronger for the position of customer accounts manager, the position that you have always been interested in.”

Apprising: The change agent/leader explains how carrying out a request or supporting a proposal will benefit him/her (target) personally or help in the advancement of his/her career.

” Raman, this study will help you when you reach a senior position and you will be asked to take initiatives for customer engagement”

Inspirational Appeals: The change agent/leader makes an appeal to values and ideas or seeks to arouse the target person’s emotion to gain commitment for a request or proposal.

  • The appeal is made to the person’s ideals and values
  • Connect the dots by linking the request to the person’s self-image.
  • Link the task/request to a clear and appealing vision
  • Use positive, hopeful, and, optimistic language.

” This company has done so much for us. We have been given so many facilities like life insurance cover, medical cover, etc, by the company and now, if we are asked to do something which is not written in our job profile, but is for the betterment of the company, shouldn’t we be doing it?

Consultation: The change agent/leader encourages the target person to suggest improvements in a proposal or to help plan an activity or change for which the target person’s support and assistance are desired.

  • State the problem or the objective of the task and ask how the person can help
  • Ask for suggestions to improve.
  • Involve the person at the planning level to attain the objective.
  • Take feedback and respond to the person’s concerns and suggestions
  • Offer to show the person to perform the requested task, to provide necessary resources, to help the person solve problems caused by a request, and help the person implement a proposed change

Raman, I know it is not your job and you have so many other things to do. However, I will appreciate it if you could help me with this project. You are an expert on this topic and you have spent a good three years in customer servicing, your insight will be valuable.

Collaboration: The change agent/leader offers to provide relevant resources and assistance if the target person will carry out a request or approve a proposed change.

Raman, I do not want to do it on your own. I just want you to spend an hour every day for the next week. I will also share some reports, power-point presentations, and articles for your reference. Trust it will help you.”

Ingratiation: The change agent/leader uses praise and flattery before or during an influence attempt, or express confidence in the target’s ability to carry out a difficult request.

“Raman, I could have given the task to anyone else and they would be so happy to work on it. But I know, you are the best, I fought with management to assign this task to you. I told them, he can add a different dimension to the study.”

Personal Appeals: The change agent/leader asks the target person to carry out a request or support a proposal out of friendship, or asks for personal favor before saying what it is.

” Raman, you know I have always seen you as my younger brother and I always look at you for any help. Brother, I know, you won’t say no.”

Exchange: The change agent/leader offers an incentive, suggests an exchange of favors, or indicates a willingness to reciprocate at a later time if the target person will do what the leader requests.

” Raman, you wanted to avail your annual leaves right !! if you do this study for me, you can avail them in this month itself.”

Coalition Tactics: The change agent/leader seeks the aid of others to persuade the target person to do something, or uses the support of others as a reason for the target to agree.

” Raman, I spoke to the Managing Director about this and he strictly told me to get it done through you and no else. You will receive his mail in your inbox, regarding the same.”

Legitimating Tactics: The change agent/leader seeks to establish the legitimacy of a request or to verify the authority to make it be referring to rules, policies, contracts, or precedent.

” See the letter of employment, it says an employee can be asked to do a task and he cannot deny it.”

Pressure: The change agent/leader uses demands, threats, frequent checking, or persistent reminders to influence the target to carry out the request.

” If you don’t achieve your targets for the month, you will be fired.”

Specific tactics

Direction for useExample
Rational PersuasionIn all directions i.e. upwards, downwards and lateral (Seniors to Juniors, Juniors to Seniors, Peers etc.)Advertisements

ApprisingMostly downwards ( Senior to Junior)Educational Institutes
Inspirational AppealsMostly downwards and lateralPolitical Leaders
CollaborationMostly downwards and lateral Myntra & Flipkart
  • Proactive tactics are not always needed to influence.
  • It is more likely to be used, when the target person resists a request, proactive influence tactics come into play
  • These tactics are used generally used when the request is unusual, controversial, or difficult to execute.

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Further reading