(This is one in a serie of articles applying Robert B. Caldini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion on CEOs’ Thought Leadership).
Cialdini’s 3rd Principal Of Persuasion – “Authority”
Using your authority is another key way to be persuasive, but it’s not the type of organizational or hierarchical authority that we might immediately think about – the type where you do or think what I tell you simply because I am your boss. That’s actually not persuasion at all, that’s compulsion. But authority can also exist outside of formal structures and it often centres around having expertise. Yet even more, is your purpose and values behind such purpose.
In a business world of conflicting opinions within a complex and intertwined interests, people will gravitate to those who clearly demonstrate they know what they are talking about and filter out the rest. Even more, for those that are taking with a clear direction and noble purpose wins with a greater margin. 17 years old Noble Prize winner Malala and Hong Kong pro-democracy fighter Joshua Wong who covered TIME’s front before he turned 18 are both examples of powerless individual that have such a persuasive cause that earn them authority.
In Jeremy Hermans & Henry Timms’ article of ‘Understanding “New Power” ‘ , the authors shed light into the emergence of this new kind of power, and thus its authority, in the face of the old hierarchical and compulsional power as we have known for years.
In short, the old power is like currency, …
As people are persuaded by your cause, they have granted you authority. Warren Buffett is often known as the “Sage of Omaha” and that reveals his authority based on a solid track record of tremendous results from his investment. Contrast Warren Buffett’s outcome, Malala has not got all girls under Muslim rules equal rights nor has Joshua Wong gain any ground in his fight for universal suffrage from the Chinese Communist Party. Yet it’s their persistence and genuine believe in the basic values of their causes (purpose) that have won over people’s respect and willingness to listen to them.
No matter you gain your thought leadership by ways of your outcome and have the old power as currency or by having a purpose so noble that people identify with you, listen to you and you thus have the new power as current, either ways, you will be amazed at people’s openness to you and willingness to listen to you. They will let you persuade them simply because they see you as an authority, so much so that they will even willing to put aside their initial concerns, natural reservations and even give you the benefit of the doubt.