Influence is Easy – Just Drop a Few Hints
A bear demolished our bird feeders. Plastic tubes and suet cages offer little resistance. Sunflower seeds and suet are easy prey.
My wife ordered new tubes and safely stored all the metal parts in a Ziploc® bag. I repaired the suet cage. But when the new tubes arrived, my wife couldn’t find one of the metal parts.
She was absolutely confident she had stored all the parts safely. That’s when things got interesting.
Had I thrown something in the garbage by accident, she asked. (Even though I’m not known as a cleaner.)
You should know that my wife is a ‘finder’. I am only a ‘looker’. She went on a find-mission. She was convinced she had it.
I looked for a bit and went back to work. She continued searching. That’s when an uncomfortable memory bubbled up in my brain, a strange feeling.
I remembered throwing a metal part in the garbage. It was vague, but it was there. Eventually, I confessed that I might have thrown it away.
She went to the garage to search the garbage. She found the missing part! But here’s the rest of the story.
I hadn’t thrown it in the garbage. No!
It was still attached to the bear-mauled tube. It had never been in the Ziplock® bag.
Hints and suggestions:
Words carry suggestions. For example, tell teachers their students are exceptional and average students perform better.
Once you expect something will happen, you contribute to making it happen.
Hints that help leaders:
- Hint that you like people.
- Hint that you’re listening.
- Hint that you enjoy work. (Find work you enjoy if you can’t drop that hint.)
You suggest doubt when you say, “I’m worried.” But you hint at confidence when you say, “I’m counting on you.”
Hints impact realities.
Sometimes a hint creates reality.
How will you drop some helpful hints today?
How Hints, Expectations, and the Power of Suggestion Influence Others | Leadership Freak
Great blog today. I find myself sharing (usually with newer managers) that people will live up to your expectations, good or bad, so expecting the best helps bring it to pass.
Thanks Dan. It seems like expectations are connected to beliefs. The people we believe in are more likely to do well. If you think about it, it makes sense. The people you don’t believe in are more likely to be low-energy low-performers. I suppose the exception is the person who wants to prove you wrong.
I love this! Related (maybe only in my mind) is telling stories about people behind their backs. Good stories. Hearing a hint that someone trusts you is great. So is hearing from someone else how much a person trusts you.
Love that Glenn. I think it’s a brilliant idea.
I actually think this can even be a bit stronger than hearing the appreciation or recognition from the giver directly. It may dispel prior thoughts of “[the praise giver] is only saying that to be nice” (when hearing it from the source), especially if insecure, doubtful, unconfident. Leading the receiver to think “since they told others it must be sincere.” Also the other person hearing the appreciation or recognition about you may well be more inclined to trust and appreciate you since the leader does.
I did this with the adults I worked with. Most were learning computer skills and had never really touched a computer prior to be enrolled in y program. Telling them that I knew they could do learn it often made a huge impact on the level of confidence and perseverance my learners displayed.
Thank Loran. You and I share experience with teaching computer skills. In the past I taught a class called computing for beginners. I still remember how excited they were with copy, cut, and paste!
Dropping hints that they can learn, that there are many others in their shoes, and no one has ever broken one of the computers made a big difference.
I have found with our children, letting them know we had faith in them, you can do it, did wonders for them as they learned their way. The same cultivates people as workers, students, leaders, etc. letting them know “they can do it”, will keep them on the path of success. Letting the worker know I think you have a the capabilities and knowledge even when they never have done it is a win/win. Confidence builds into “the believer”.
Thanks Tim. We help people believe in themselves when we believe in them.
My experience is that in low EQ workplaces, hints are overlooked, often not even noticed.
I enjoyed this post. It reminded me of a book I read called “Nudge” by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein. Talks about the same idea. There is a great precis of the book on the CBC Radio Show “Under the Influence” with Terry O’Reilly.
We try and use these kinds of ideas in our school communications efforts.
Thank you for this. Very cool.
Predicting the future can come true. It is amazing how true this can be.