23 mar 2018 / Geral

Positive Power & Influence: Behaving our Way Up

8 Minute Read


"By a great person, however, we mean a person who because of the spiritual gifts, character and other qualities, deserves to be called great, and who has a result has the power to influence others."

Fredrik Bajer 


We've all been in situations where we met someone who made a lasting impression on us. Their presence and behavior exuded a calm confidence, an ability to connect and be present to other people. These people, whether, instinctively or through practice, mastered the skills of Positive Power and Influence. And you can too.


Last week, we introduced the concept and explained the different influence styles. Now, it's time to dig deeper at look at the specific behaviors within each style. 


Here's a quick recap. There are 3 energies we can use in any situation: 

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Move away 

Within these energies there are different styles of influence:

Push energy has 2 different styles:

  • Persuading 
  • Asserting 

Pull energy has 2 different styles:

  • Bridging 
  • Attracting 


Move away energy is, also, comprised of 2 styles:

  • Disengaging 
  • Avoiding 


A behavior is what you say and do, and other people can see and feel it. The environment that you create with each behavior is what we refer to as style. 


Using the behaviors within each style intentionally and well makes you more likely to be influential and have a positive impact on others. Using the behaviors unintentionally or poorly might leave other people confused and less receptive to you. 


Whether or not you use the behavior within each style well relates directly to the language you use. Language is a key factor at play when it comes to influence


Think back to a situation where you were having an interesting conversation with someone and then all of a sudden that person dropped a word that completely threw you off... It's hard to disentangle words from the unique associations that we understand them through. And that's why language is such an important part of influence.


The two behaviors in push energy are: 


Persuading... It Style 


Persuading is an act of logic, it involves using data and rationale to bring about change in how the other person thinks or behaves. Persuading is more effective if both people prefer or are willing to use logic and data lead the decision-making process. And when persuading well... others feel encouraged to review the available information through a logic, data-based lense to reach a solution.  


Persuading Behaviors


Persuading involves two behaviors: Proposing and Reasoning 




When you propose you're recommending the best course of action, and in doing so you make it clear that you're solution focused so that others are able to trust and accommodate the suggested recommendation. Below are some effective proposing stems that you can refer back to. 


Proposing language


  • How about
  • I suggest 
  • I propose that 
  • I have an idea... let's
  • I believe


Reasoning Behaviors


Reasoning involves providing facts that support your proposal. You're more likely to succeed if you find and share 2 or 3 facts that are most likely to influence others. The challenge in doing this is that in order to understand what is most likely to influence others, you need to put yourself in their shoes. 


Reasoning Language


  • The reason for that is 
  • The data shows
  • Here's why
  • Because 


Asserting... I style

Asserting is referred to as the I style because it's all about you, what you believe, want and need. It's about clearly expressing your needs and wants, therefore, works best if both you and the other person have something to win or lose.


In order to assert your needs and wants well, it's important to create the environment in which, the person you are influencing is able to listen and understand them, which means, there's sense of trust from which you can share your needs and the other person can bargain and trade-off, because the underlying intention is to benefit both parties.


The asserting style involves 3 different behaviors: Evaluating, Stating Expectations and Using Incentives and Pressure. 

Evaluating Behaviors

Evaluating is about clearly expressing to who you want to influence how you feel about a given situation.  You state what you like and what you would like to see change. Keeping the focus on the things you like and remaining clear on what you'd like to see changed. 


Evaluating language


  • What I like is that
  • I like it when
  • It's helpful when you
  • I appreciate when you
  • I don't like it when
  • I'm upset that you 


Stating Expectations Behavior 


Stating expectations is all about communicating to the other person how or what you would like them to do. It's not about reasoning or explaining why as it takes away the focus from your message, it's simply saying this is what I expect you to do. 


Stating Expectations Language 


  • I'd like you to
  • I want you to
  • I expect you to 
  • You must


Using Incentives and Pressures Behaviors


This behavior involves telling people what will happen if they meet or do not meet your expectations. When you use Incentives and Pressures well people are aware of their choices and possibilities in case they meet or fail the expectations and what compromises you're willing to make.


Using Incentives and Pressures Language 


  • If you do x... y will happen 
  • I can do A if you do B
  • If you can't do A, then I will have to do C 


We've seen before that within the pull energy there are 2 styles, bridging and attracting.


Bridging... You style 


In the bridging style of influence, the focus is mainly on the other person. Like the name indicates it's about creating a bridge between you and the other person with the intention of understanding where they are coming from without losing sight of your own position. Because it's about the person you are trying to influence, it's important that you value their contribution and commitment and that you're willing to see things from their perspective.  


This style of influence is comprised of 3 behaviors: Involving, listening, and Disclosing. 


Involving Behaviors 


You involve other people by encouraging their participation and asking for their perspective on a situation. You're actively trying to understand how they feel and think so asking open questions is an effective way of involving. Note, however, that trying to understand is not the same as interrogating, so when involving well the other person feels acknowledged and valued and therefore is receptive to influence. 


Involving Language 


  • How do you see and feel about
  • Tell me more about 
  • Why is x important to you
  • Help me understand 


Listening Behaviors 


When you paraphrase, summarize and reflect back what the other person said, you're actively listening and the other person feels heard and acknowledged. To listen well you give the other person 100% of your attention and show them that their views and feelings are real and important to you. 


Listening Language


  • If I understand you correctly
  • Based on what you just said you must be feeling 
  • Do you mean...?
  • What do you mean by... 


Disclosing Behaviors


Disclosing is about having the courage to open up and share your uncertainty, past mistakes, and own experiences. When done well it creates safety and trust and the other person is more likely to open and share as well.


Disclosing Language 


  • I need your help…
  • I’m unsure about…
  • I’m feeling really under pressure about…
  • This is a new area for me...


Attracting... Us style


This style, attracting is about working together towards a shared purpose. When you're committed to the objective and the other person is a significant player in the project, you both join efforts and work collaboratively. Used well, attracting sparkles excitement and energy, and people feel driven to reach the goal and move forward. 


Attracting involves 2 behaviors:  Finding Common Ground and Sharing Visions. 


Finding Common Ground Behaviors 


This behavior involves finding and pointing out shared ideas, interests, beliefs, values, and experiences, which brings you closer to the person you want to influence. When done well, you create the environment that allows you to work together and come together.


Finding Common Ground Language


  • We both believe in...
  • We share a concern about 
  • Remember last year when we
  • With your experience in x and my ability in y...


Sharing Visions Behaviors


Sharing visions implies that you create a picture in the other person's mind of a compelling shared future. Sharing visions well brings you and the person you want to influence together and generates excitement about the future and the possibilities ahead. 


Sharing Visions Language

  • Imagine us...
  • Picture this
  • A year from now we can 
  • What I see us doing 


The four styles of influence when used well and within the appropriate context will help you establish positive relationships and help you reach your personal and influence goals. Nevertheless, you'll come to situations where either you or the other person are not able to continue interacting in a constructive and positive way, in those situations the best course of action is to move away intentionally and purposefully.


Using moving away energy, means that you can either disengage or avoid. 




Disengaging is about pausing, allowing time for you and the other person to reassess and reroute so that you can move forward positively. This should be done in a way that clearly articulates that this pause is intentional, what it's purpose, focus and intention is. To disengage effectively you can use any of the 4 styles of influence. 


Disengaging means you can choose any of the following actions:


  • Taking a break  (taking a 15-minute pause before reconvening)
  • Postponing (rescheduling the conversation)
  • Giving and Getting Feedback (establishing or changing ground rules and discussing how you are working together)
  • Changing the subject 




Avoiding refers to the times when you use move away energy unintentionally or unconsciously because the situation feels too difficult or unmanageable. Avoiding has a negative impact and will lead you astray from your personal objectives and damage your relationships. Quite often you're not aware that you're avoiding so using this framework helps you identify and choose a more appropriate course of action instead.  


Wrapping it up


Influence is not just for the naturally charismatic, whether or not our professional roles formally require it, the truth is, positive and meaningful relationships are essential for a healthy, thriving life and practicing these skills benefits you and the people you interact with, making it more likely that you reach your goals and positively influence those around you. 


Now we'd love to hear from you. What challenge or topic would you like us to write about? Leave us a comment below and to submit any questions or suggestions reach us at info@sofiacalheiros.com or +351 215 892 109.


The future is here. We're ready. Will you join us? 


Sofia Calheiros / Leadership & Coaching