Clients ask me how to coerce others. At work, they may want executives to support a new project. At home, they may want to strengthen relationships and have their partner make more effort. I tell them all the same thing, they don’t actually want to coerce others, they want to influence others. It’s a big difference.
- Coercion is a loser’s game
- Coercion is egocentric and frail
- Instead of coercion, focus on influencing others
- Benefits of influence
Coercion is a loser’s game
Coercion involves force or threats. It’s ineffective, authoritarian leadership. Making someone do something by force or dishonest means like manipulation or control. At work, this could look telling people they need to follow a process or they will be reprimanded. In relationships, this could look like giving someone the silent treatment in order to get them to do what you want.
It’s not healthy and creates uncertainty. Some people will tell you they need to use force, manipulate and control in order to be powerful. Those people are weak and mask abuse as power. They need you to follow along so they can self-justify. But it’s 2023 and we deserve it to ourselves to move out of this weak mindset.
Coercion is egocentric and frail
Coercion is likely going to make you miserable. You’re setting yourself up to be reliant on external validation, meaning you will constantly work to coerce people. There is no relaxation. You move away from yourself, and instead you live for others.
This is a double-edged sword. People will be around, not because they actually want to be around, but because they fell they have to be. And those people will jump ship any chance they get. So while you might get what you want in the short term, you will be miserable and lonely in the long run.
At work, this can look like high turnover or people who put in the bare minimum. In relationships, this looks like constant fighting or people distancing themselves.
Instead of coercion, focus on influencing others
Influencing others is leading by example, showing people why something is important and then letting them make their own decision. When someone does something by their own choice, they will become invested in it. This harbors creativity and appreciation.
At work, this looks like telling colleagues how important it is to follow a specific process so you can hit targets. In a relationship, it looks like telling someone how much you love when they take you out to dinner and a show.
So instead of coercion and forcing colleagues to follow a process, you influence them by showing them the importance of the process. And instead of coercion, and withholding from your partner, you show them how much you appreciate when they take you out, which will influence them to take you out more.
Benefits of influence
Instead of having people begrudgingly following processes or making an effort, you have people who are happily following processes and contributing more to a relationship.
Not only will it make them happier, it will make you happier in return. And you will likely get more than you originally wanted, because when people actively choose to follow a process or do something they are appreciated for, they will do more than expected.
At work, it looks like people championing change because they know how important it is for the company mission. In relationships, this looks like someone putting in extra effort because they know their partner really appreciates it.
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Photo by Elijah Macleod
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