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.)


Sometimes a hint creates reality.

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:

  1. Hint that you like people.
  2. Hint that you’re listening.
  3. 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?

Bonus resource:

How Hints, Expectations, and the Power of Suggestion Influence Others | Leadership Freak