The Power of Persuasion

Otis Baskin

Leadership could be defined as the ability to exercise influence over others.  The success of a leadership transition in a family business is therefore dependent on much more than someone assuming the position of CEO or obtaining voting control in a shareholders meeting.  Leadership is really about how to avoid a power confrontation and still get things done – the power of persuasion.  One old definition of persuasion tells us that influence over others is purchased at the price of allowing one’s self to be influenced by others.  While this may seem counter-intuitive, the logic is obvious:  We are all more likely to follow someone whom we believe has listened to us and has truly understood our point of view (been influenced by us).  If others believe you have heard them and have incorporated their interests into your leadership they are more likely to follow.

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