Neurodiversity Is Not Enough We Should Embrace Psydiversity

Holly Roos and her son Parker, who is autistic, touch feet as they read stories on the couch at their home in Canton, Illinois, 4 April 2012. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

The concept of ‘neurodiversity’ has gained enormous cultural influence in recent years. Computer scientists and ‘techies’ wear the ‘neurodiverse’ label with pride; businesses are building ‘neurodiverse’ workforces; scriptwriters strive to represent and cast ‘neurodivergent’ people. Those framed as ‘different’ have been given a remarkable new lens through which to reimagine that variance.

The sociologist Judy Singer coined the term ‘neurodiversity’ in the late 1990s. Inspired by other emancipatory social movements based on race and gender, Singer used her standing as an autistic person to rally together neurodivergent people. This was partly a response to what Singer called the ‘social constructivist’ view of autism, where the condition was seen as having no solid biological basis.

This denied the reality of neurological difference, according to Singer. In reply, she offered up ‘neurodiversity’ in the spirit of biodiversity, in that it recognised and respected natural variance among humans. The movement quickly gained support via online forums and new social networks.

Since Singer’s first use of the term, neurodiversity has widened beyond autism to include people who identify with categories such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, bipolar disorder, depression and more. It’s come to mean any real mental differences – neither choices nor simply illnesses – that aren’t problems to solve so much as enrichments for society.

Neurodiversity has done brilliant work in breaking down social barriers, challenging stigmas, and raising awareness. But it also contains limitations, and these are becoming increasingly prominent as the concept expands into new domains. The main premise of the neurodiversity movement is that society should be robust enough to embrace and celebrate all people, no matter how their brains are ‘wired’.

That’s a laudable goal and shouldn’t be tricky for anyone to wrap their head around. Yet since the beginning, critics of neurodiversity have claimed that its mantra of radical acceptance could hinder treatments and interventions for those who are suffering. Embracing neurodivergent thought too enthusiastically, they say, risks distracting from genuine physical, emotional or social needs that require attention.

This debate quickly descends into unhelpful recriminations. But it also distracts from a deeper philosophical problem that neurodiversity must confront as it expands into new territory. Neurodiversity’s vision of inclusion, alluring as it is, tends to rely on the idea that neural wiring is at the root of all differences in how humans relate to the world.

But reducing diversity to brain-based distinctions can stand in the way of more sensitive and potentially fruitful ways of understanding mental life. In fact, the success of neurodiversity has exposed the glaring lack of any shared vision or sense of solidarity around mental difference that isn’t anchored in brain-based accounts. So while we can applaud neurodiversity’s ethos of acceptance, we should question its commitment to achieving legitimacy through false ‘neuro’ certainties.

There is a different way forward, in which we fashion our political advocacy and scientific reasoning not on the brain but the ‘mind’. I call this programme ‘psydiversity’. Psydiversity rejects the claim that mental states can be cleanly and predictably mapped on to the brain. Instead, it augments the valuable work of neurodiversity by demonstrating that mental processes and the way we understand them change and evolve through history.

Indeed, psydiversity holds that the mind and ‘human nature’ are not unitary things, but are profoundly embedded and even constituted by the society and context in which they appear. That isn’t to deny the reality of difference, but rather to situate this reality as part of an unfolding social and historical process.

If there’s one aspect of neurodiversity that’s core to its agenda, it’s the ‘neuro’ prefix. The term ‘neuro’ actually stems from the ancient Greek ‘neûron’ or the Latin ‘nervus’, defining nerves or the nervous system. Contemporary neuroscientific approaches have their origins in the early 19th century, when physiologists such as Franz Joseph Gall, Charles Bell, and François Magendie used a combination of human anatomical studies and terrifying animal vivisections to identify the relation between brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

By the early 20th century, neurologists had created detailed maps of the brain and nervous system, and had named many distinct conditions such as cerebral palsy and hemiplegia. It wasn’t until the 1990s, though, that the brain sciences began to really assert themselves in other branches of human knowledge. Via new imaging and genomic testing technologies, evidence emerged that differences in human emotion and behaviour could be traced to differences within people’s brains.

This spawned a number of ‘neuro-’ prefixes that could be attached to subjects as disparate as ‘neuroeducation’, ‘neuroethics’, ‘neuroanthroplogy’, ‘neuroaesthetics’ and ‘neurolaw’. The former US president George Bush called the 1990s the ‘decade of the brain’, while the philosophers Fernando Vidal and Francisco Ortega declared that the neurosciences were leading us to believe that ‘we are our brains’.

Once a treatment or medical tool exists, social, financial and political forces tend to push up diagnoses . All this fervour sprang from the belief that brain-based sciences and genetic research could transform society for the better. When the Dutch geneticist Han Brunner claimed that deficiencies in the MAOA gene could be responsible for an increased propensity to violence, this inspired hopes that moral judgments about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour could be transformed into progressive scientific research and treatment. Continue reading…..

By: Bonnie Evans

Source: Neurodiversity is not enough. We should embrace psydiversity | Aeon Essays

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10,000 Steps Per Day? Fitness Trackers Push It, But How Many Do You Really Need?

Peter Muller/Getty Images/Cultura RF 

There’s nothing magical about the number 10,000. In fact, the idea of walking at least 10,000 steps a day for health goes back decades to a marketing campaign launched in Japan to promote a pedometer. And, in subsequent years, it was adopted in the U.S. as a goal to promote good health. It’s often the default setting on fitness trackers, but what’s it really based on?

“The original basis of the number was not scientifically determined,” says researcher I-Min Lee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She was curious to know how many steps you need to take a day to maintain good health and live a long life, so she and her colleagues designed a study that included about 17,000 older women. Their average age was 72. The women all agreed to clip on wearable devices to track their steps as they went about their day-to-day activities.

It turns out that women who took about 4,000 steps per day got a boost in longevity, compared with women who took fewer steps. “It was sort of surprising,” Lee says. In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were about 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared with women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity. “I love this study. I think it’s really good news for women who may not be particularly active,” says Kathleen Janz, who studies how physical activity influences health at the University of Iowa. She was not involved in this study.

Janz, who helped shape the new federal exercise recommendations released last November, says the message that comes from this study is that older women can benefit from just light walking. “They didn’t need to go the gym or invest in a personal trainer or exercise equipment,” she says. All they had to do was walk. And Janz says that’s encouraging.

“To me, this study suggests there’s more benefit to light activity than we were previously thinking there might be,” she says. Of course, the researchers point out, they would like to know much more about how walking may affect other health parameters such as quality of life and memory and cognitive function. It’s possible that walking a greater number of steps each day could influence these outcomes.

Another thing Janz notes is that this study only measures walking. It didn’t measure things that many of us do that don’t require steps, things like gardening, swimming or biking. And it’s safe to assume some women in the study were doing these other things that can influence health as well.

And Janz says to remember the federal exercise guidelines call for 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, which includes all kinds of daily movement, not just steps.

So, if 10,000 steps has been feeling out of reach to you, it may be time reset those factory settings on your fitness tracker. Instead, try to hit at least 4,400 a day, along with daily activities that you enjoy. And stick to it.

Allison Aubrey - 2015 square

By:

Source: 10,000 Steps Per Day? Fitness Trackers Push It, But How Many Do You Really Need? : Shots – Health News : NPR

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Related contents:

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22 Microhabits That Will Completely Change Your Life In A Year

Breakthroughs don’t change your life. Microhabits do.Benjamin Hardy compares this concept to compounding interest, and how, given the choice, most people would take $1,000,000 in their bank account right now as opposed to a penny that doubles in value over the course of the month.

What most people don’t realize is that those who take the big payout end up with significantly less money than those who opt for the cent per day. He explains: “The doubling penny actually ends up being $10.7 million dollars. Yet, the majority of the growth happens at the very end, and most people aren’t patient enough for the big return. The live for the moment culture of today stops people from investing.”

The point is that if you want to have a completely different life in a year or two, you need to start now, and you need to start small. Here, 22 impactful microhabits you can begin tonight.

1. Try to be rejected more. 

Every day, reach out to one or two people who you’d like to work with, even if you are certain they would have no reason to respond.

It could be a potential employer, an organization at which you’d like to speak, or even a book agent, or client you’d love to work with. You might not hear back at first, but eventually, you will get a response from someone. You have nothing to lose, but potentially a lot to gain.

2. Write one paragraph.

Whether you have a book you’ve always dreamt of authoring, a business plan that’s been in the back of your mind for a while, or even just a blog you want to start, write just a few sentences each day. The momentum will build on its own and you’ll find yourself effortlessly writing more and more… but commit to just beginning with one paragraph.

3. Check your bank account.

Make it a habit to check in on all of your accounts at least once a day. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. But what’s important is that you’re keeping yourself aware of exactly what you have, and where it’s going. Getting a better grip on your finances begins with having a consistently accurate mental layout of your accounts.

4. Get used to maintenance.

Aspirational tropes want you to believe that living your best life is like running a victory lap every day. In reality, it is more like being willing to tend to the unglamorous maintenance of things, like chores, cleaning, healthy cooking, staying current on bills and work assignments, or making time for exercise.

The quality of your life will be directly and drastically improved if you can incorporate necessary maintenance into your daily routine, and learn to see it as something that helps you rather than hinders you from having a great time.

5. Choose comfort for your future self over comfort right now. 

If you want to change your life, you need to start considering the needs and wants of your future self over the ones you have right now. Prioritizing how you feel and what you want in the moment is what lead you here. Instead, commit to making choices for the benefit of your future self. The idea that “being present” means disregarding anything but your most base instincts and desires is not enlightenment, it is self-destruction.

6. Be more responsive. 

If someone sends a text, answer it when you see it. As often as you are able, respond to important emails as they come in. This will ensure that you aren’t left with a backlog of work that needs to be tended to.

7. Be less reactive.

When you see or hear something that immediately enrages you or upsets you (even if it’s just a negative thought that crops up in your head) before reacting to it and pouring your energy into it, question it. Figure out where it came from, and ask yourself whom your reaction to it would serve. Learning to take that micro-pause between a stimulus and your response will change the way you look at everything.

8. Fulfill your base needs.

You are not a machine, but in some ways, your body and life does require that you fuel it in certain ways to keep it running. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired. Trying to deny the importance of your most basic requirements for functioning does not mean you are busy and important, it means you are ignorant and setting yourself up for a breakdown or burnout.

9. Curate your sphere of influence.

You know that the people you spend the most time with have a significant impact on who you will become.

But do you also realize that what you are surrounding yourself with and putting into your head is having just as much, if not even more, of an effect on you? Take a serious look at who you follow online and what their presence on your newsfeed does for you, or perhaps how cluttered your home or office space is. This is your environment, and it is having a silent, and often subconscious, impact on you at all times.

10. Take action when you want to do something.

In Mel Robbin’s The 5 Second Rule, she explains that a lot of what holds people back is those few seconds between when you have an amazing idea, and when your brain interferes. She says that to really move your life forward, you need to act on your ideas before you convince yourself not to.

11. Take action when you don’t.

At the same time, it’s imperative to learn that just because you do not feel like doing something does not mean you are incapable of doing it. Your feelings do not impact your ability.

12. Read more.

If you aren’t someone who can get through a book, that’s okay. But it’s not an excuse to stop learning, growing and developing yourself. Follow people on social media that post or share interesting articles and ideas. Read a news story in the morning. Listen to an audiobook on your commute. How much you read is directly related to your self-growth, and your self-growth is directly related to your external success.

13. Scroll less.

Whereas sifting through TV channels was once the mindless past time of years past, now it’s scrolling through news feeds. Train yourself to limit your “scroll” time each day. Try one of those browser installations that give you a set amount of time you can spend on a website in a day before it blocks access to the site, or apps that counts how many times you open social media apps. You don’t have to delete them entirely, but you should be mindful that you’re not spending multiple hours a day effectively doing nothing.

14. Observe your patterns.

Instead of being critical of yourself when you notice that you’re procrastinating, or engaging in an unhealthy behavior, notice what prompts it. Notice what you’re doing when you feel most at ease, most inspired, or most frustrated. Observe yourself as a third party, treat your life like something you are studying. Get to know what you react to and how — this can help you direct your life.

15. Practice saying “no.”

Your energy is limited each day. Make sure it is only going toward that you truly care about. You should not feel bad about saying “no” to some things. It is ultimately a means of self-preservation.

16. Practice diverting your attention.

When you have a self-defeating thought, the solution isn’t usually to mull on it until you arrive at a different conclusion. The solution is usually to distract yourself with something productive. Get better at diverting your attention to something that helps you, not negative thoughts that can lead to a spiral.

17. Share your ideas consistently and clearly.

Having ideas is great, but they won’t go anywhere if you aren’t able to articulate them, or come up with an action plan that allows you to implement them.

18. Use what you have.

The next time you have the urge to go pick up dinner or a new outfit for the weekend, challenge yourself just once to wear what’s in your closet, or eat what’s in your pantry, even if you don’t want to that much.

19. Drink one more glass of water.

Don’t worry about pressuring yourself to get all recommended 8 cups down perfectly. Just focus on drinking one more. Then, when that’s part of your routine, add another.

20. Eat one less unhealthy snack.

Don’t worry about trying to completely overhaul your diet and perfect every single thing that crosses your lips. Focus only on foregoing one single unhealthy choice that you’d make on any given day. Just one.

21. Create open portals for people to reach and contact you for what you want to do.

Make sure that you are consistently making your information available to those who may want to reach out to you. Your personal website and online presence is the new résumé, so make sure you are consistently updating and improving it, and making it easy for others to understand what you do and how to reach you.

22. Begin each day asking yourself: “How can I change my life today?”

Get out of the mindset that you have to “get through” the day and get into the mindset that the coming hours are filled with open-ended potential for you to take action that will change your life forever. The only difference is your willingness to see things differently, and your effort in trying to make them better.

I cover stories on emotional intelligence and millennial trends.

Source: 22 Microhabits That Will Completely Change Your Life In A Year

.

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Why You Should (Almost) Always Make the First Offer

Photo: vchal (Shutterstock)

For some reason, negotiation tends to be considered a specialized professional skill instead of a basic life one. Business school students and salespeople learn tons about how to work out deals, but most of the rest of us never learn much about how to negotiate. That’s one reason why buying a major asset like a house or car is so stressful for regular folks—negotiating is mysterious to us.

But everyone negotiates on a constant basis, and learning some of the fundamentals of banging out a mutually-beneficial deal is a crucial skill we should all acquire. The challenges of learning how to bargain is often the mixture of emotion, psychology, and math. Leverage can swing back and forth between parties, and emotions can play as much of a role as finances (as anyone who has overpaid for a house because they “fell in love with it” can attest).

That’s why learning some basic negotiation skills is essential—starting with why you should always seriously consider making the first offer.

The Anchoring Effect

You’ve probably heard that you should always make the first offer when negotiating, possibly with some vague explanation about setting the terms. This is, in fact, generally good advice—because of something called the Anchoring Effect.

The Anchoring Effect is all about bias—it’s an irrational tendency in human beings to rely on the first piece of data they acquire, regardless of its value. We all have this bias—study after study has confirmed that the first number you hear will influence how you value something. When sellers make the first offer, the final price is usually higher, and one study found that 85% of negotiated outcomes generally aligned with the first offer.

The crazy part is, even when we know the first piece of data shouldn’t affect us, it does. In one experiment, people were asked to write down the last two digits of their own social security number and then asked if they would pay that much for various items. Then, they were asked to bid for the same things, and despite the fact that the “seed” number they’d been given was completely unrelated to anything, folks with higher social security numbers bid much higher for everything.

Dropping the anchor

The irrational power of the Anchoring Effect is why making the first offer (sometimes called “dropping the anchor”) is a powerful tool in a negotiation. But that doesn’t mean it always works—you need to know how to use it in order to get the full benefit of the effect.

Here are some things to consider when planning to drop an anchor into a negotiation:

  • Be aggressive. People often worry that being overly aggressive with an opening offer or price will insult or scare off the other party. But an aggressive first offer is your best strategy. An aggressive first offer leaves you room to “compromise,” while still getting a better deal in the end (a form of the “Door in the Face” technique).
  • Don’t be absurd. Keep in mind that “aggressive” doesn’t mean “insane.” While an aggressive first offer can set the goalposts in your favor, throwing out an offer that is completely out of line with reality can make the other side wonder if you’re serious, competent, or credible.
  • Be specific. The more precise your first offer is, the more effective it will be in anchoring your opposition. The classic example is pricing a house: A list price of $255,500 will get higher bids than a list price of $255,000—or $256,000.

By putting some thought into the specifics of your first offer, you can most benefit from the irrational power of the Anchoring Effect.

Other negotiating success factors

As powerful as the Anchoring Effect can be in a negotiation, it’s not a magic spell. The first thing to keep in mind is that if you’re dealing with an experienced and trained business or sales professional, chances are they know all about it and have been trained in ways to “defuse” the anchor, which is often as simple as ignoring it and pivoting to details, or offering an immediate “counter-anchor” in an effort to redefine the terms.

The key to a successful anchoring first offer is information, really. The ideal scenario for dropping an anchor is when you know more than the other side. When the other party has access to more information than you do, it’s very difficult to drop an anchor. For example, if a homeowner knows the real estate market in their area well, they know how much their property is worth, and your aggressive anchor will simply seem absurd.

Or consider interviewing for a job—the interviewer knows what the budgeted salary for a position is, and you don’t. If your first salary ask is way outside that budget, it’s not going to have the intended effect. On the other hand, if you both know the same amount of information, your anchor will be predictable and expected, making it easier to defuse.

And if you’re both in the dark, a first offer will be pretty much a guess, making it impossible to know whether you’re actually helping yourself with your shot in the dark anchor. All that being said, making the first offer has been proven to have a beneficial psychological effect on the other side of a negotiation. So use this power. Just do your research first.

By: Jeff Somers

Source: Why You Should (Almost) Always Make the First Offer

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Related contents:

Getting to yes : negotiating agreement without giving in (Reprint ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0140065343.Adnan, Muhamad Hariz; Hassan, Mohd Fadzil; Aziz, Izzatdin Abdul; Rashid, Nuraini Abdul (2019), Saeed, Faisal; Gazem, Nadhmi; Mohammed, Fathey; Busalim, Abdelsalam (eds.), “

Bargaining for Advantage. United States: Penguin. ISBN 9780670881338.Saner, Raymond. The Expert Negotiator, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2000 (p. 40)

“Perspective taking as a means to overcome motivational barriers in negotiations: When putting oneself in the opponents shoes helps to walk towards agreements” (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 101 (4): 771–790. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.728.9853. doi:10.1037/a0023801. PMID 2172844

“Against Gridlock: The Viability of Interest-Based Legislative Negotiation”, Harvard Law & Policy Review (Online), vol. 3, p. 1 (2009).World Trade Organization, WTO members search for compromise as text-based negotiations on fishing subsidies continue, published 9 October 2020, accessed 15 October 2020United Nations,

Previewing work ahead, UN Assembly President says Member States must agree a bold post-2015 agenda, published 15 January 2015, accessed 16 October 2020

CNA, 15 nations complete ‘text-based’ negotiations for RCEP, signing xpected in 2020, accessed 15 October 2020CNA, India will not join RCEP trade deal in blow to sprawling Asian pact, published 4 November 2019, accessed 16 October 2020Johnston, Peter D (2008).

Negotiating with Giants. United States: Negotiation Press. pp. Pages 4 to 5. ISBN 978-0980942101.Chernow, Ron (2004). Titan, The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. United States: Penguin Random House. pp. Pages 111 to 112. ISBN 978-1400077304.

“Athletes’ performance declines following contract years”. ScienceDaily. 22 January 2014.Johnston, Peter D. (2008). Negotiating with Giants. United States: Negotiation Press. pp. Page 4. ISBN 978-0980942101.Johnston, Peter D. (2008). Negotiating with Giants. United States: Negotiation Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0980942101.IBHS Union Voice (3 December 2008).

“”Bad Faith Negotiation”, Union Voice”. Unitas.wordpress.com. Retrieved 24 August 2014.example of use – “the Republicans accused the Democrats of “negotiating in bad faith”, Oxford Online DictionaryDouglas Stuart and Harvey Starr,

“The ‘Inherent Bad Faith Model’ Reconsidered: Dulles, Kennedy, and Kissinger”, Political Psychology(subscription required)“… the most widely studied is the inherent bad faith model of one’s opponent …”, The handbook of social psychology, Volumes 1-2, edited by Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, Gardner Lindzey

“Merlone, U., & Lupano, M. (2021). Third-party funding: The minimum claim value. European Journal of Operational Research”. European Journal of Operational Research. 296 (2): 738–747. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2021.04.059. S2CID 236586390.Malhotra, D.,

Four Strategies for Making Concessions, Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge, published 6 March 2006, accesses 2 June 2021“Negotiation” (PDF). Saylor Academy. Retrieved 10 April 2022.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83 (5) (2002), pp. 1131–1140

“BEST ALTERNATIVE TO A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT”. University of Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 10 April 2022 – via Course Hero.Lewicki, Roy J.; Barry, Bruce; Saunders, David M. (2014). Negotiation: Readings, Exercises and Cases (7th ed.). McGraw Hill Education. p. 467. ISBN 9780077862428.Thomas, Kenneth W (21 November 2006).

“Conflict and conflict management: Reflections and update” (PDF). Journal of Organizational Behavior. 13 (3): 265–274. doi:10.1002/job.4030130307. hdl:10945/40295. S2CID 145635552.Shell, R. G. (2006). Bargaining for advantage. New York: Penguin Books.Marks, M; Harold, C (2011). “Who Asks and Who Receives in Salary Negotiation”. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 32 (3): 371–394. doi:10.1002/job.671.Goldman, Alvin (1991).

Settling For More: Mastering Negotiating Strategies and Techniques. Washington, D.C.: The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-87179-651-6.Pease, Barbara and Alan (2006).

The Definitive Book of Body Language. New York: Bantam Dell. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-553-80472-0.Donaldson, Michael C.; Donaldson, Mimi (1996). Negotiating for dummies. New York: Hungry Minds. ISBN 978-1-56884-867-9.Van Kleef, G.A.; De Dreu, C.K.W.; Manstead, A.S.R. (2006).

“Supplication and Appeasement in Conflict and Negotiation: The Interpersonal Effects of Disappointment, Worry, Guilt, and Regret” (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 91 (1): 124–142. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.91.1.124. PMID 16834484. S2CID 11970038.Carnevale, P. J. D.; Isen, A. M. (1986).

“The influence of positive affect and visual access on the discovery of integrative solutions in bilateral negotiation” (PDF). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 37: 1–13. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(86)90041-5. hdl:2027.42/26263.Bowles, Hannah; Babcock, Linda; Lai, Lei (2006).

“Social incentives for gender diVerences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask” (PDF). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 103: 84–103. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.09.001. S2CID 18202551.Callahan, J; Besterfield-Sacre, M.E.; Carpenter, J.P.; Needy, K.L.; Schrader, C.B. (2016).

“Listening and Negotiation”. 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. doi:10.18260/p.25571.Amekudzi-Kennedy, A.A.; Hall, K.D.; Harding, T.S.; Moll, A.J.; Callahan, J. (2017). “Listening and Negotiation II”. 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. doi:10.18260/1-2–28631.McKersie, R.B. (2012).

“negotiation”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 19 August 2019.“The Day-to-Day Life of a Dean: Engaging in Negotiations and negotiations”. Negotiation Journal 475-488. 28 (4): 475–488. doi:10.1111/j.1571-9979.2012.00352.x.Fisher, R.; Ury, W.; Patton, B. (2012). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin: New York.

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Four Ways to Build Influence at Work, No Matter Your Job Title

people around a table, brainstorming

Being influential has its benefits. People seek out your opinion and listen to you. Your words have power. Those around you believe what you say and give weight to your input. But you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite or a high-ranking employee for this to be true. It’s possible to expand your influence in virtually any role.

“Inside the workplace, there’s formal influence, which comes from your position—the responsibility and authority that you’ve been given,” says leadership consultant Ron Price, founder of Price Associates, and author of Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact. “But there’s also informal influence, which comes from who you are and how you show up.”

While the title you hold may not be imbued with power, there are steps you can take to increase the power you hold in virtually any role, he says. Here are four strategies to try:


Focus On What You Can Control

Influence starts with the areas within your control, says Melissa Drake, founder of Collaborative AF, a consultancy that helps companies unlock potential through collaboration. First off, focus simply on being good at your job.

“If you’re doing your thing well and passionately and you’re getting good results, it’s really hard to argue with that,” she says. Being good at your job is one of the basic elements of influence. It lets people know that you’re confident and capable. Failure to do so undermines influence and makes it more difficult for people to trust you.

At consulting and training company Franklin Covey, Scott Miller, executive vice president and author of Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, recommends focusing on your “circle of influence“—those factors you can control, including “your reputation; your ability to deliver on your promises; your ability to make wise, high-impact decisions; your ability to collaborate.” The more you focus on those essential elements, the more your influence will naturally grow.


Spend Your ‘Influence Currency’ Wisely

Understanding the areas in which you may most likely be influential is important, too. If you have special expertise or act as a facilitator or gatekeeper, the way you share and distribute knowledge or resources can make you influential, says Allan Cohen, global leadership professor at Babson College and co-author of Influence without Authority. The core of your influence may also lie in how well you understand the organization, relationships within the workplace, or other areas that aren’t generally known.

But there’s a fine line between being a fair guardian of that influence and blowing your own horn too much, he says. Cohen says you must figure out how to provide that value in a reasonable way. “It’s a fine art to be able to contribute without disappearing, but without saying, ‘See me? See me? Look. Look. Here I am. Look what I’m doing for you,’” he says.


Make Strong Connections With Others

“Everything comes down to relationships,” Drake says, so building a strong network is essential. She recommends getting to know people on a personal level, too. It’s easier to relate to and understand others when you have an idea of what’s important to them, what their personality traits are, and what’s going on in their lives. “[Allow] people to be seen and heard as individuals and who they are,” says Drake, who gave a TEDx talk on collaboration in which she emphasized how much more powerful successful collaborations can be compared to solo efforts. “Then it makes it easier to come together,” she says.

The ability to collaborate with others also helps build your influence because it strengthens relationships. “There’s the kind of influence that you build through collaboration, where you work with people, where you have shared interests, says Price. “You can combine your influence together to create something bigger than you could have done by yourself.”


Don’t Be a Jerk

Even if you don’t have a big title or wield a great deal of power, there is always a way you can help others, Price says. So find ways to give back to individuals and the organization before you try to use your influence for your own interests. “Who comes to you to get information or something that they need in order to do their daily work?” he says. “The more that you respond to that in a timely way and give them what they’re looking for, the better, stronger influence you’ll build with them.”

By building your expertise and relationships, and using your growing power wisely and fairly, your words and actions will likely have greater impact in the workplace. But, as your influence grows, so must your humility, Miller says. “The more you readily show vulnerability and admit your issues, [the more] people will gravitate around you and you’ll create a culture where people take risks. They’ll make bets. They’ll choose to stay because there’s no paranoia. There’s high trust,” he says.

By: Gwen Moran

Source: Pocket

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Critics:

Social influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the demands of a social environment. It takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing. Typically social influence results from a specific action, command, or request, but people also alter their attitudes and behaviors in response to what they perceive others might do or think. In 1958, Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman identified three broad varieties of social influence.

  1. Compliance is when people appear to agree with others but actually keep their dissenting opinions private.
  2. Identification is when people are influenced by someone who is liked and respected, such as a famous celebrity.
  3. Internalization is when people accept a belief or behavior and agree both publicly and privately.

Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard described two psychological needs that lead humans to conform to the expectations of others. These include our need to be right (informational social influence) and our need to be liked (normative social influence). Informational influence (or social proof) is an influence to accept information from another as evidence about reality. Informational influence comes into play when people are uncertain, either because stimuli are intrinsically ambiguous or because there is social disagreement.

Normative influence is an influence to conform to the positive expectations of others. In terms of Kelman’s typology, normative influence leads to public compliance, whereas informational influence leads to private acceptance.

Robert Cialdini defines six “weapons of influence” that can contribute to an individual’s propensity to be influenced by a persuader:

  • Reciprocity: People tend to return a favor.
  • Commitment and consistency: People do not like to be self-contradictory. Once they commit to an idea or behavior, they are averse to changing their minds without good reason.
  • Social proof: People will be more open to things that they see others doing. For example, seeing others compost their organic waste after finishing a meal may influence the subject to do so as well.
  • Authority: People will tend to obey authority figures.
  • Liking: People are more easily swayed by people they like.
  • Scarcity: A perceived limitation of resources will generate demand.

See also

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