If you look up the word leadership online today, you will find that there are Six Styles that can be learned and adopted. The experts in the field state that an effective leader must be able to utilize all six styles. And they should use it depending on how conditions play out. Now because each type has its own pros and cons, the idea is to be able to use a style that best fits a specific scenario. Aligning a leadership style to a certain scenario thereby maximizes the positives while reducing the negatives associated with each style. I strongly advocate for this approach if someone wants to become an effective leader. However, to undertake this at full capacity will take years of practice. It will require you to work in a setting, exposing you to many scenarios that would demand the types of leaderships styles.
I’ll demonstrate an easier way to become an effective leader. It will narrow down all six styles down to two elements: influence and compulsion. You also will not need to expose yourself to countless scenarios in order to practice these elements. All you need to understand is emotions, and that people possess both positive and negative components. Before reading further, take a look at my THREAD that introduces what I am about deliver at length.
Brief Introduction on Emotions
Emotions can be categorized into positive and negative components. Your sensitivity to each component originates from your personality and temperament. As a leader, it is your job to assess the personality of the people around you to effectively lead them. This means you need to spend some time profiling them into their personality types.
People sensitive to negative emotions are often high on neuroticism and agreeableness. They may or may not be extroverted. They are often easy targets for manipulators as their orientation in life is to largely avoid conditions that stimulate negative emotions.
People who appeal to positive emotions are your extroverted types. They may or may not have high neuroticism. In other words; an individual can both be sensitive to negative emotions while appealing to positive emotions. But the two are mutually exclusive of each other. People who appeal to positive emotions have lower levels of risk assessment and enjoy thrill seeking activities.
The High Neuroticism Extroverts
The media has proven to be the most powerful force that affects mankind. It predominantly accomplishes two things: it distracts by stimulating positive emotions through entertainment. And it controls by stimulating negative emotions through news narratives. This means that we are already at a disadvantage when it comes to controlling our emotional impulses. There’s nothing on the media for instance, that suggests we should not seek indulgences. You can see the effects of this being played out in the young generation. The ‘good vibes only!’ types are becoming increasingly more common everyday. If there is a personality profile you should avoid, it’s the high neurotic extroverts.
I am not saying that these personality types are bad. All personality types have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, extroverts tend to be exceptional in sales and entrepreneurship, and those with high negative emotions tend to be great risk assessors. But within the context of emotions, these personality types happen to be most disadvantaged.
How all this affects your Leadership
The six styles of leadership teaches you to apply different styles according to different circumstances. For instance, a coercive style of leadership is used under fast paced, stressful conditions where the margin of error is high and costly. Whereas a democratic style of leadership is used when a leader seeks to gather ideas for creation and innovation. So different approaches are used in different contexts. The same principle can be applied to leadership through emotions. Compulsion is implicitly used on those who are sensitive to negative emotions, and influence is explicitly used on those who appeal to positive emotions.
Compulsion And Influence Are Not the Same
To influence someone means to encourage them to do what you suggest. You explain to them why something should be done along with the benefits of them doing it. The benefits should then outweigh the reasons of not doing it. If it does, you have met their asking price and they will follow through with it. If not, you’ll need to offer more.
Compulsion is the dark brother of influence. To compel someone interprets to “do this or else”. It is often the case that you need some form of leverage to effectively compel someone to do something for you. Whereas with influence, the need for leverage is not necessary, as those who believe in your leadership will act on their own accord if they see the benefit. You can argue that the benefit they see is an incentive and therefore a form of leverage. But this isn’t the case since they can walk away from it anytime.
So an effective leader uses the two in tandem on the people he leads;
He explicitly influences by laying out the benefits for them if they did as they’re told. He also implicitly compels them by laying out the consequences of them not doing as their told. The combination plays right into the primal behavior of humans; evoking the prospect of a “happy state” while mildly aggravating their survival instincts.
The key point here is that you have framed your proposal in a way that the person can satiate both feelings simply by doing as their told. They get to attain a happy state while also keeping misery at bay simply by following your lead. Never use one method without the other. When commanding others, get into the habit of explaining the benefits of them complying, and (implicitly) the consequences that they will have to face if they choose to not comply. Resistance towards your order will drop, which will only magnify your reputation with power.
Here are few facts to consider on compulsion and influence with regards to leadership
- The more influence you use the more it improves your character and the more you will become popular and admired.
- The more compulsion you use, the more you will be resented and seen as a tyrant.
- If you have a well known track record of success, you wont need to influence or compel. People will just follow.
- The less successful you are as a leader, the more benefits you need to provide when you try to influence.
- The more leverage you have, which you can use to compel, the less benefits you need to provide when you influence
- The more leverage you have, the more people will fear you.
Compulsion is used at the highest organizational hierarchies.
They leverage money, connections, assets, lawsuits & contracts, to deliver desired objectives. It doesn’t require competence, character or honor. But it doesn’t necessarily mean its evil. It is entirely possible to be good & corrupt at the same time. Because you will find that in order to survive in any competitive field, you will have to engage in expedient means for the protection of your own interests. Every business does. If you’re familiar with what went down with the GME stock, Robinhood ceased trades on GME not because it was in their best interest to do so. They were compelled by the numerous hedge funds who had strong vested interest in shorting the stock. Read Hedge Funds Vs Reddit if you’re interested in the story. This is one of the most recent examples where the use of compulsion can be applied to.
I strongly discourage the use of explicit compulsion on its own. It should be implicit and always delivered with constructive, positive influence. I also disagree with people who say compulsion is not necessary when you’re an effective leader. Although the statement stands to be true, because the more reputation you accumulate as an effective leader, the less compulsion you need to use. But this does not mean the use of compulsion should be disregarded entirely. The combined use of compulsion and influence sets the best leaders apart.
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