March 2013 | Negotiation & Persuasion
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Daniel Pink is the author of five books on the changing world of work, including the New York Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell Is Human. His books have been translated into 34 languages.
Increase your ability to influence and move others to action by attuning to their perspectives.
Research confirms that the ability to influence people — to engage and move them to action — is based on a complex set of skills related to attunement. Attunement involves understanding other people’s perspectives, getting into their heads, and seeing the world through their eyes. But it is more than merely understanding what others are thinking; it also includes how they are socially connected to others.
As you gather intelligence by watching and listening, a critical step is to pay attention to “social cartography,” the map of the personal and professional relationships that are important to the person you’re seeking to influence. When you understand the social landscape, you can better interpret group dynamics, including identifying the decision maker, and adjust your style accordingly.
By starting with the intent to gather information about those you want to influence, by focusing on their networks, you can gain additional tools to expand your influence and sell your ideas.
Here are two ways you can practice your attunement skills so you are ready to instantly assess the moods of your counterparts when you are in the midst of selling your ideas:
Attunement Map 1
In your next important conversation at work, note your counterpart’s emotional tone, or mood, at the beginning of the encounter. On a scale of 1 (negative and resistant) to 10 (positive and open), what’s his or her temperature? Do the same at what you think is the middle of the conversation. Has it changed? Do it again when the conversation ends. Afterward, reflect on the factors that might have changed the mood for better or worse.
Attunement Map 2
In your next meeting,* rate the collective mood on that same 1 to 10 scale at the beginning, middle, and end. Reflect on the factors that might have changed the mood — including your role in bringing it up or down.
*This can be any meeting — in person, online, or via phone — as long as it’s a typical meeting that involves more than two people.
Daniel Pink teaches in Wharton’s Advanced Management Program, and is the author of five books on the modern workplace, including Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us (Riverhead Books, 2011).
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools Academic Director, Professor Adam Grant.
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