Persuasion vs Influence
The words influence and persuasion have deep meanings for someone who aspires to be a good leader. At a first glance, the use of these two techniques of motivating and guiding the behavior and attitude of those in your team to achieve a common objective seems to be one and the same, but there are underlying differences between influence and persuasion that need to be unraveled so as to be able to use one or the other or a combination of both to be more effective and efficient as a leader.
Whenever there is a change in a person’s thoughts, feelings or behavior because of another person’s personality, then influence is said to have taken place. Great leaders have this ability or charisma to make others behave or do what they want without actually saying it in words. Persuasion on the other hand takes place when you communicate to try and deliberately change a person’s behavior. If you are successful, persuasion is said to have been at work. Some great leaders and orators have the power of the gab. They are great orators and can sway the opinion and behavior of others easily.
Both influence and persuasion have the common objective of making a change in a person’s behavior or attitude but whereas persuasion requires you to communicate, influence works silently without you having to make any effort. Persuasion is the ability to sway the opinion of others by presenting your case in a very effective manner. People who are persuaded become motivated to do what you want.
Business is a time sensitive environment. You do not have an eternity to get your employees or team members motivated to achieve a common objective. Though persuasion is a handy technique in any circumstance, influence is that is preferred by most leaders as it is based upon trust and credibility which are lacking in persuasion. There are situations where influence would be a better option. If persuasive techniques are used there, the leader is often seen as a manipulator and any compliance on the part of the team members or employees is temporary at best.
It is possible to sell combs to bald men through persuasive techniques. However, they will feel cheated when they realize that combs are of no use to them and that you have sold them what they do not need. Suddenly all the trust for a person who persuaded is gone. In contrast, attitude and behavior change that results because of influence is longer and has better results. In the presence of trust, both influence and persuasion work satisfactorily.
• Persuasion and influence are great tools in the hands of any leader
• Though both seek to effect behavior and attitude change, their methods are different
• While persuasion requires communication, influence works without any communication and the employees are motivated on their own to do what the leader wants.