There are five ways we interact with co-workers: Cooperation, Influence, Persuasion, Giving feedback, and Competition. If you don’t know which technique you use or should be using you’ll be hard pressed to get the result. Let’s look at each.
Cooperation. We march in the same direction throwing the ball back and forth. We agree on goals and expectations. There is little to be debated and roles are clear. It’s easiest because it’s the path of least resistance.
Influence. To make someone want to do what we want them to do either directly or indirectly. This is not manipulation but a softer technique than persuasion. For example, “setting a good example” is a form of influence. Praising someone using the techniques you want the person to use is also a form of influence.
Persuasion. This is the talking version of influence. We use arguments, facts, rants, to cause someone to do what we want them to do.
Give feedback. One of the trickiest interactions because we are judging someone’s behavior, work, ideas. Done properly, good feedback is an art which persuades the listener to change behavior and appreciate the information.
Competition. This is most difficult because it requires moving oneself to the front of the group without bruising anyone or arousing someone’s competitive instincts.
To be effective with co-workers, i.e., getting them to help when needed and to reciprocate favors requires this mindset: What can I do for this person to help him/her want to do it my way? Non-manipulation is key. All cooperation must be rewarded.
How much improved would your working relationships be if you adopted this mindset? If instead of thinking, “How can I get Joe to do this,” you thought, “What can I do for Joe?” If this puts you into a saccharine swoon you are doing things the hard way. The mindset is the path of least resistance for working with anyone. Why do people resist? You don’t get the same adrenalin rush you get from combat. How many people do you know who live to disagree, obfuscate, and bully? This is the antidote. You can change their behavior if you change your approach. Try it and see.