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One of the books I'm reading at the moment is Robert Cialdini's 'Influence: Science and Practice'. I was reading chapter 3 about commitment and consistency and it occured to me that one could use the 'describe one thing about your role/job you like' idea possibly annually as part of the review. As the book shows, making statements and living up to them is a powerful driver as people want to be seen as consistant.

I wonder what other people's views are about this? Would it be a useful part of a review, or the unethical use of a tool of influence?

ehyde111's picture

I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that. The quesiton, though, I have used it in a review. Not in the sense you're suggesting, but more to find out just why my good people are sticking around. It gives me something to tuck away and then pull back out when one of my directs does a supurb job and deserves some recognition, or if they're having a tough week and need a break.

jhack's picture

I'm also reading Cialdini right now. Great stuff.

As with so many other techniques of persuasion, intent and honesty matter. If you are getting their commitment to something they truly believe in, then doing so as part of building in them a sense of urgency and priority in their work is appropriate.

If you're manipulating them to do something they don't really believe in or is unethical or immoral (bribes, theft) then that's a problem.

So if the commitment is aligned with their values (O3's should help you know if that's the case) then aligning their work with their values is to both your advantage and theirs.

John

JohnGMacAskill's picture

I know what you mean about ethics...however...it is influence. Is it unethical to influence someone to stay and enjoy the role? By using 'tricks' as Cialdini writes about is gaining influence and some people would see that as manipulative and therefore bad...but is it?

If they end up enjoying the role, is it bad just because you have used influence techniques?

~John

jhack's picture

You're asking if it's OK to influence your employees to like their job.

You're being too hard on yourself. As a manager, and a leader, you are going to ask people to do things they wouldn't choose to do unless you were persuading them to do so.

If you didn't pay them (money is very persuasive), they probably wouldn't even show up for work. If you didn't provide goals, tools, and process guidelines, they probably wouldn't do what you wanted, even if they were paid. If you didn't use "influence," what would you do?

Influence isn't inherently bad. When we convince someone to contribute to a charity, that's good. There are great books and movies I would never have experienced had my friends not been persuasive.

The key is this: are you manipulating them to do something that violates an ethical or moral or legal code?

You're trying to make their work life better. Helping people enjoy their jobs is a good thing. It's one of the things a good manager does.

John

scottwozniak's picture

I also am reading Cialdini and it can be frightening at times. However, I would like to underscore jhack's comments.

Even were you to not do anything for fear of inappropriately influencing those around you, your lack of action would communicate to them--and would influence them accordingly.

We are always communicating (even if that communication is simple and obvious) through our inaction as much as our action. That communication influences others. Therefore, we are always influencing others. The question is not whether to influence, but how to influence towards what end.

Cialdini offers us the ability to move from unconscious impact to conscious impact. Doing so does come at a price, though. We then face a test of our character each time we choose how to influence towards what end.

jhack's picture

Just finished the book (finally!)

He spends more time towards the end focusing on how to defend one's self against the more insidious techniques, and ends the book with a call to radical action against those who would use the techniques for their personal pecuniary purposes.

Great book, everyone should read it, if simply to defend yourself from the "compliance professionals."

John

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="jhack"]Just finished the book (finally!)

Great book, everyone should read it, if simply to defend yourself from the "compliance professionals."

John[/quote]

Bingo. It is about being effective and doing what you can to make sure your point gets across.

I read the book while on vacation...powerful stuff. It is appropriately on M&M's Top Ten list.

bigstory's picture

I once read that it is not unethical to influence or manipulate someone to do what they actually want you to but are resisting. I believe it was an example of a psychologist working with a therapy patient.

I don't like the idea of manipulation, but what if you are motivating your people to do a better job so you can reward them with better pay? Would they not want that?

-Gordon
in C-C-Canada

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="bigstory"]I once read that it is not unethical to influence or manipulate someone to do what they actually want you to but are resisting. I believe it was an example of a psychologist working with a therapy patient.

I don't like the idea of manipulation, but what if you are motivating your people to do a better job so you can reward them with better pay? Would they not want that?

-Gordon
in C-C-Canada[/quote]

Gordon,

I may be wrong about Cialdini's book and the principles discussed but I think directs would see through repeated application of influence techniques. Secondly, a key take away for me was the ability to spot influence techniques being applied to me by others.

Working in the non-profit sector my experience suggests feedback and good working conditions trump remuneration.

HMac's picture

Just to chime in on your original question:

[quote]...and it occured to me that one could use the 'describe one thing about your role/job you like' idea possibly annually as part of the review. [/quote]

Assuming you're doing it for the right reasons and all that, why wait until the annual review? Sprinkle it in occasionally with your O3. It's a great ongoing conversation to have with your directs, because as they grow, you want to continue to nuture and help them. Even if it means growing them out of your part of the organization.