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Recap: Protecting Yourself from Unwanted Influence

Recap: Protecting Yourself from Unwanted Influence
A quick recap, a quick summary of our session around protecting yourself from the influence, or maybe even manipulation of other people. The first thing that we talked about in this session was the fundamental difference between influence and manipulation. We defined both and what we learned, what we discovered is they’re actually very similar. It’s still about the control of the influence that one has on another person. But manipulation is using that power, using that influence, for self-gain, self-interest, whereas influence generally is more agnostic for what the end is. Is it for the group goal? Is is for the good of the organization? Or is it for self-gain? So in that sense, manipulation may be a version, if you will, of influence.
Is manipulation influence? Yeah, but manipulation is specifically, I’m trying to influence you for my own purpose, my own gain. Two very different things in terms of how we think about influence and manipulation. And then we talked about three specific strategies to protect yourself from that unwanted influence or the manipulation. The first strategy we talked about was minimizing the biases that enable others to influence us. And we used a couple of examples, whether it be from social proof, availability or liking, to illustrate what those biases are and how you can minimize those. We then talked about how you can flip the influence tactic on the other person.
So when someone tries to use an influence tactic on you, whether that’s scarcity, or availability, or social proof. You can actually flip that tactic on the other person and use that same tactic to off-set or minimize the impact or the influence they’re having on you. And then lastly, to reframe the power relationship. And here the most common scenario that I see in organizations is someone trying to use their legitimate authority to influence other people. And if that’s unwanted influence you have to reframe that relationship by focusing less on the structural base of power and much more on the personal base of power. We often see an organization’s people using personal basis of power as well, expertise, information, or reverent power.
And here again, you can reframe that power relationship. If someone is trying to use, for example, expertise power on you, but their expertise is less relevant to the specific situation that you’re in, you can reframe that power relationship by minimizing their expertise for that specific situation and enhancing or bringing to light the information power that you have. This specific information that you have that is directly related or relevant to that situation, can offset your dependence on that person, and reduce the control that they have over you in that situation. Thus, protecting yourself or your team from that influence, that maybe you don’t want.
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