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In their 1981 book  “Leadership in Organizations” scholars Gary Yukl and J. Bruce Tracey identified 11 influence tactics that people commonly use in the workplace.

The six positive influencing styles are:

  1. Rational persuasion.
  2. Apprising.
  3. Inspirational appeal.
  4. Consultation.
  5. Exchange.
  6. Collaboration.

The five negative influencing styles are:

  1. Legitimation.
  2. Coalition.
  3. Pressure.
  4. Ingratiation.
  5. Personal appeals.

It’s helpful to understand which one fits your natural style and then adapt your delivery style to meet the requirements.

Positive Tactics

1. Rational Persuasion

With rational persuasion, you persuade others with solid facts, clear explanations, and logical arguments.

Rational persuasion is most effective when you use it with someone who shares your objectives and of course, you are armed with logical argument tools and data.

Use effective information-gathering strategies, and make sure that your facts, statistics, and theories are accurate, well thought through, and relevant.

2. Apprising

With apprising, you explain how your request, idea, or proposal will benefit the other person. However, the person doesn’t benefit directly from the project itself, the benefits come as a result of that person’s involvement or support.

3. Inspirational Appeal

You use this tactic when you appeal to another person’s emotions, values, hopes, and ideals. Inspirational appeal helps you forge a strong emotional tie between the person and the project. This can be a powerful motivator.

To use this approach, learn what motivates your people, and the values that they care about most – tools such as McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory and Herzberg’s Motivators and Hygiene Factors can help with this. If you’re using this tactic to influence team members, think too about the values you looked for when you hired them. Then, tailor your requests to appeal to these, and to their goals, hopes, and dreams.

As part of this, you can use business storytelling to create a strong emotional tie between your audience and your message.

4. Consultation

When you use this approach, you ask people to help you plan how to achieve your goal or to help you develop a solution..

This influence tactic is especially useful when you’re in charge of a change initiative, and you need help from people to carry out a particular task or project. (Use tools such as Hartnett’s CODM Model to come up with a solution as a group.)

This tactic isn’t effective when people don’t have the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to achieve the objective, or when what you want them to do clashes with other important objectives that they have.

5. Exchange

This technique, which is based on reciprocity, involves rewarding others for their help or involvement with a request. This could be a reward of resources or information, help and support on another project or task, or something tangible (such as additional compensation or benefits).

This tactic is appropriate when you have a request that offers no obvious benefits to others, yet will cost them a considerable amount of time, stress, or inconvenience.

6. Collaboration

With collaboration, you make it easier for the other person to get involved, or to approve your request.

Negative Tactics


7. Legitimation

People use legitimation tactics when they attempt to establish their authority, or their right to request something from you. They might also try to prove that their request is consistent with organizational policies, rules, or practices.

People often use this technique with unreasonable requests, or when they’re unfamiliar with how much authority the person they want to influence has.

This tactic is linked to the idea of legitimate power. Therefore, it may be appropriate to use it if other more positive forms of influence have failed.

8. Coalition

This is when someone uses other people to influence you, such as your boss, clients, colleagues, or team members – essentially, they try to “gang up” with others to push you into doing something.

The influencer might ask others to influence you directly. However, he might also simply use other people’s endorsement or opinions to sway your decision.

9. Pressure

People use pressure tactics when they threaten you or act aggressively. They might make repeated demands for you to change your mind, even after you say “no.” Or, they may try to take away some of your power, or discredit you.

Pressure tactics often go along with bullying, and will likely leave you feeling stressed, upset, resentful, and angry.

10. Ingratiation

With ingratiation, others try to make you feel better about yourself before they make a request. For example, they might praise you, or do you a favor, before they ask for your assistance.

This can turn into manipulation when the praise or flattery is insincere, or when people do favors so that they receive something in return, later down the line, without being honest about their intentions.

11. Personal Appeals

People make personal appeals when they ask you to do things because of friendship, loyalty, kindness, or generosity.

This influence tactic can make you feel that someone has manipulated you, or that they’ve taken advantage of you.


  1. don’t; reply on your personality as a default -adapt and adopt to win.
  2. when hiring staff, check that their influencing style wont repeatedly clash