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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

A leader’s choice: the crossroads between manipulating or truly influencing others

Actualizado: 4 ene 2023

By Juanpablo Barrantes Leader’s approach (8 min read) Most of us seldom struggle on getting the best out of something we value consistently over time. It’s way difficult in some instances, to follow through on the things that really matter in life. Let me clarify first on what I mean about one’s life value, or what really matters to me. You may or may not agree, but to me there are two milestones in life: inspiration and meaning. Inspiration comes to my life in the form of relationships. The few people that I really love are the motor that makes me move towards an aspiration, a significant purpose. Consistency of purpose compounds into fulfillment, and this is the best part because that’s precisely where meaning comes as a result of day to day thriving for one’s aspiration in life. Meaning happens as the effect of my own strive for a significant purpose. So meaning it’s not a destiny, it’s a journey, it’s life itself. Inspiration first, then meaning. So, for we as humans, relationships are the cornerstone for success. Thought leadership author and speaker Simon Sinek makes a deep approach on how humans exchange feelings, emotions and thoughts as a natural quest for survival and the search for power. Sinek explains we commonly fall into two interaction paths whenever looking for something out of people. Especially talking about the strive for power over others, humans naturally manipulate or either influence others’ decisions to his or her own advantage. The easiest and shortest path to reach power is manipulation, and as I mentioned before, unfortunately it’s inherent to human nature. Manipulation occurs when you influence others’ actions for your own gain, but not necessarily for others’ gain. Manipulators are not authentic people. Just think about the typical politician who spends the pre election campaign making several promises to gain as many votes as possible, but then once he’s elected none of his promises happen. It’s evident that any manipulation wisely managed is very effective. It’s effective for non lasting relationships, just one or very few manipulating events because more sooner than later the truth, the reality is so evident that people will stop following a non-authentic and manipulating leader. Have you worked for a manipulating boss? I hope you don’t... but for those who have had such experience, I am pretty sure they have ended up demotivated, feeling not respected and uncommitted. Probably they are about to quit if not already, because they may never had an opportunity for personal or professional growth, they were not appreciated for his or her contribution, or surely they were seen just as a number. Leadership based on Manipulations is synonym of selfishness, it’s a non lasting and sure for failure outcome, there is no significant purpose at all in this interaction path. The other path is true influence. Influence has its roots in a major reason, a WHY that is a common inspiration of many people. Leaders who walk through the path of true influence have an authentic purpose, which they’re always trying to live up by walking the talk, and by servicing others while looking also for his own growth. You follow an influencing leader by conviction, not by condition, you follow him precisely because beyond the leader, it’s the cause by which you’re striving for; and that’s pretty clear for everyone in your team but first and mostly for the leader. Have you worked for a truly influencing leader? One of the best signs you will notice when working for a great, true influencing leader is, you feel a natural and compelling conviction to follow him or her, to let yourself being guided and to learn from his or her example, while helping him or her succeed in your common inspiration, because it will certainly be the success of everyone involved in this win-win process. And there’s one more trait that you will notice when working for a great, true influencing leader: focus on personal development is a vital part of his or her commitment towards you and your team. Personal growth is an invaluable asset you will gain under the guidance of a true influencing leader. If you learn the art and discipline of becoming into another true influencing leader, a virtuous cycle begins, then your duty is to replicate and improve what you’ve learned so far to those around you, until at least making another true influencing leader, so the virtuous cycle keeps up with momentum, making success a way of living, not an event but a constant in the life of the organization. Be wise when choosing on how to make things happen through others, the crossroads between manipulation and true influence surely makes a huge difference on how you will be perceived as a leader. I finish my thoughts with some wisdom words from Neale Donald Walsch (recommended book reading: Conversations with God), —“By declaring yourself a leader, you’re taking initiative and moving into a role of influence in a lively and vital network that’s changing the world. We’re changing the world, first by changing ourselves and then by touching the world as changed beings. We believe the change in us catalyzes change in others. So, in changing the world, we’re choosing to be the change we wish to see in the world. By taking on this leadership role, you are choosing to be the change too.”—

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