Leadership Influence Is A Science

Leadership InfluenceWithout influence, there would be no business. Work wouldn’t get done and goals wouldn’t be achieved. So it isn’t that hard to imagine why people who can influence others are invariably the most successful and happiest ones around. This is especially true for leaders. After all, “Leadership is Influence”.

The aspect of influencing people that is perhaps most interesting to professionals is the ‘science’ of influence. Many people believe that the ability to influence is largely an inborn trait or only developed while growing up. While there may be some truth to that, but there is a scientific aspect of influence, one that can be taught, learnt and used.

The need for positively influencing people penetrates all levels of an organization, regardless of its nature, size and goals. Before we get into the details of applying the science of influence in the workplace, let’s delve a little deeper.

Books have been written and praises have been sung about the scientific aspect of influence. In essence, there are six basic ‘principles of influence’, namely:

  1. 1. Reciprocation
  2. 2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. 3. Social Proof
  4. 4. Liking
  5. 5. Authority
  6. 6. Scarcity

The idea is that influence can be broken down into scientifically researched facets, which can then be learned and applied. For businesses and professionals, this is great.

Let’s take a close look at the principles of influence. As you read on, think about how the principle can be used in your workplace.


This is essentially the application of the social psychology concept of reciprocity that refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action. People invariably feel obliged to return favors. This human trait can be used to influence people by initiating a positive action. In the workplace, don’t wait for people to do you a favor, do others a favor first.

Commitment and Consistency

Humans have an inherent desire to have their behavior perceived as consistent. In the workplace, when someone made a promise, they will have to deliver. They have to be consistent within themselves. For example, If you are dealing with a difficult person in the workplace, you can ask him what is his number 1 value he treasure as a person, if it is respect, ask them to be consistent to what they say.

Social Proof

When people make decisions, they usually look to other people in similar situations. Social proof then becomes a powerful tool in influencing decisions, especially if a certain ambiguity is present in the situation. If you face an uphill task of convincing your boss of the new solution, you can always cite real and successful case study of other players.


It’s no secret that people will agree more with people who they like. From physical attractiveness to praise to humor, a lot of attributes and actions make people like other people. But what is the secret ingredient behind likability? Simply look for areas of common interest with the person. Successful negotiator spent more 400% more time seeking common ground and interest on a personal and social level before they get to business.


Authority is a very powerful trait that helps influence others. People have an almost involuntary compliance trait with respect to authority. However authority is not all about position. It is about your expertise. Are you known to be an expert in your area?


People want more of what they have less of. These ‘objects’ can be anything from a cup of coffee to a job opportunity. Scarcity is a very useful principle of influence in the workplace to put a stop to procrastination if used correctly.

Influence is about science. Science is about human behavior. This simply means people can learn it, master it, and use it to get things done faster, improve relationship and increase one’s influence positively.

Article by Mr Joseph Wong, Founding Director and Behavioral Transformation Coach of TrainingGearAsia Pte Ltd. He is the author of “The Power Science of Influence”, and an expert in harnessing the science of influence to transform behavior at work, sales, team and leadership. He is the author of “The Power Science of Influence”. For more information, visit www.traininggearasia.com or email influence@traininggearasia.com

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