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Most encounters between people revolve around the attempt to gain influence or persuade one to someone else’s way of thinking. When it comes to leaders, in particular, they depend on their ability to influence if they wish to achieve success and prosperity. 

Unfortunately, many define influence and persuasion as being pushy, forceful, or manipulative. And while some people may even use these tactics, they are wrong. Deliberate tactics, calculated maneuvers, or intimidation may generate some instant results and maintain influence over the short term, but they never last. Sooner or later, these tactics tend to backfire on the user.

Influence and persuasion are to be used with integrity and are about short-term compliance while maintaining good, long-term relationships. If used wisely, people will naturally and automatically begin to trust you, have confidence in you, and want to be persuaded by you. That said, praise and self-esteem are great examples of tools for persuasion.

Praise, Recognition, and Acceptance

It’s well-known that most people desire praise, recognition, and acceptance. Praise and acceptance are two of humanity’s biggest cravings, and all three have their place in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s ingrained in everyone’s psyche to be respected and accepted.

It isn’t a stretch to understand how compliments can change one’s behaviour. They make the recipient feel needed, valued and appreciated. These compliments will make the recipient feel like they have a reputation to live up to or an opportunity to prove the validity of the commendation they received.

Compliments can change behaviour because they make the recipient feel needed and valued. The individual now has a reputation to live up to or an opportunity to prove the validity of the compliment.


People possessing self-esteem denote a sense of strength and security. They can admit when they’re wrong and are not unravelled by criticism. Such self-confidence can be seen in all aspects of their lives, from their jobs to their education, relationships, and income.

Unfortunately, however, the majority of people do not enjoy a high level of self-esteem. Some studies have shown that two out of three North Americans suffer from various degrees of low self-esteem. The associated symptoms are defensiveness, the inability to fully trust others, gossiping, and even outbursts of aggressive behaviour.

If you help your prospect feel important and appreciated whenever you are in a persuasive situation, it is almost always a fail-proof strategy.

Leveraging Praise

Sincerity plays a crucial role when giving praise and offering compliments. When you provide honest recognition, you not only raise a person’s self-esteem, but you also boost their energy levels. People who are on the receiving end of compliments will often smile, and their spirits will soar. You’ll often find that people with low self-esteem rarely praise or compliment others.

The key to leveraging praise is to be honest and sincere about it. Even the most cunning flatterers will be detected in the end – at which point everything they’ve managed to build in a relationship will come crashing down. It’s always better to compliment someone sincerely about something small than to compliment someone insincerely about something big.

As an HR  leader, sincere praise and compliments will be your greatest allies in managing and persuading your staff. Something as simple as a pat on the back for a job well done will go a long way and may impact the receiver in ways you may not immediately realize. Using them in your work regularly but not excessively will boost confidence levels and improve productivity. For complimentary advice, book an appointment at  or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734