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Harness Power of Positive Influence by Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Huijin Kong

In the dynamic world of personal development, Positive Influence emerges as a beacon of inspiration and empowerment. Explore the transformative journey within these pages, discovering the profound impact of positive influence on every facet of life. Brace yourself for a riveting exploration that promises to reshape your mindset and elevate your aspirations.

Ready to embark on a journey of positive transformation? Dive into the intricate layers of influence and unlock your path to success. Continue reading to unveil the secrets that can propel you towards a life of fulfillment and achievement.

Harness Power of Positive Influenceby Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Huijin Kong

Positive Influence is a groundbreaking exploration of the nuanced art of influencing others positively. The authors, Tsun-Yan Hsieh & Huijin Kong, delve into the intricacies of human connection, providing insights into the profound impact of positive influence on personal and professional spheres. Through real-life examples and actionable strategies, the book serves as a roadmap for individuals seeking to enhance their communication skills, leadership qualities, and overall effectiveness in influencing positive outcomes.

Hsieh and Kong masterfully navigate the realms of influence, delivering a compelling narrative that captivates from start to finish. The book not only elucidates the significance of positive influence but also equips readers with practical tools to integrate these principles into their lives. The seamless blend of theory and application makes [Positive Influence] a must-read for anyone aspiring to leave a lasting, positive impact on those around them. Engaging, enlightening, and empowering, this book stands as a testament to the transformative potential of positive influence.


Personal Development, Management, Leadership, Career Success, Self-help, Motivation, Success, Psychology, Influence, Communication, Empowerment, Inspiration

Introduction: Champion the subtle yet mighty secret to effective leadership

Positive Influence (2021) offers a no-nonsense roadmap that helps people harness positive influence with courage, empathy, vision, and wisdom as they shape a world that benefits all. It suggests that mastering the art of positive influence can bring about profound and beneficial changes across the personal and professional realms of a person’s life.

Imagine a scenario where subtle actions, rather than overt commands, shape events. This is the essence of influence – a concept distinctively different from sheer authority or power.

In Positive Influence, authors Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Huijin Kong define influence as the art of mobilizing oneself and others to positively affect an interaction, task, relationship, community, or group. As an action, it produces outcomes beneficial to all involved, without resorting to coercion or raw power.

Now, how does influence differ from leadership? Leadership is a social influence that inspires people to exceed everyday efforts, fostering better and faster achievements while envisioning a new reality. While leadership often captures the limelight, the subtler art of influence is often more pivotal – even if just behind the scenes. More importantly, the impact of influence hinges upon a moment, defined by the two authors as a crucial window in which influence can effectively yield the desired outcome.

As we journey through this summary to Positive Influence, we will explore the various facets of influence, such as its distinction from manipulation and communication, the markers of practical influencing skills, the common challenges leaders face in exerting influence, and the foundational skills necessary for mastering this art. Then this summary’s final act will help you use influence to develop yourself into an effective leader.

Ready to harness positive influence? Let’s dive in.

What influence is – and isn’t

When discussing influence, it’s important not to confuse it with manipulation.

Here’s a workplace scenario to illustrate influence in action. Vik, a project leader, aims to impress his superiors, while Sue-Ann, the project sponsor, is balancing work demands with family commitments. Vik and Sue-Ann have their individual goals, and they must both align these with the broader objectives of the project. It’s not solely about Vik’s ambitions or Sue-Ann’s quest for balance. Instead, they need to harmonize their personal goals to prioritize the shared aim of project success. Through this scenario, we realize that influence is about aligning diverse interests to serve a common purpose.

Now, let’s touch upon manipulation, the not-so-pleasant cousin of influence. Manipulation is self-serving and often harmful to others. It’s like a chess game in which you’d think several moves ahead solely for your gain, regardless of how it affects others. Positive influence, on the other hand, is about creating a scenario in which everyone’s needs are considered and addressed.

Imagine if Vik, focused solely on his career advancement, manipulated project data to appear more successful, while disregarding the team’s efforts and Sue-Ann’s need for stability. This self-serving tactic might give Vik a temporary edge, but it harms the project’s integrity and erodes trust within the team. Manipulation only brings about detrimental effects.

Speaking of trust, it’s worth noting that influence has more to do with effective communication at heart than plain old persuasion, which tends to center on personal gain. You cannot just broadcast your message and hope it sticks enough for people to pick it up. By communicating transparently, you establish a two-way street on which understanding, empathy, and mutual inspiration come into play to extend your reach. To influence people, you need to be willing to follow up and engage them in meaningful dialogue.

Suppose Vik emailed ambitious project goals to impress his superiors, but didn’t seek Sue-Ann and the team’s feedback. His approach, while informative to his higher-ups, would miss the chance for collaborative input from his team. This scenario demonstrates the limits of one-way communication and how it keeps influence from serving its purpose.

Ultimately, being positively influential involves collaboration and mutual respect – two things that help you balance individual and collective needs. You’re not winning at the expense of any team member under your watch.

Now that you know what influence is and isn’t, let’s find out whether you’re any good at it – and what to do if you’re falling short.

The components of positive influence

Influence isn’t just about those big, history-making moments. As Robert F. Kennedy said, It’s more about the small, courageous steps we take, creating ripples of hope that eventually build potent currents of change. And that’s precisely what positive influence is all about – choosing significant outcomes that align with our deepest values and courage, no matter how tough the circumstances.

Take Hsieh’s own early experience as a project manager. The author recalls talking about cost-cutting to a room full of anxious faces. Instead of sticking to his script, he switched gears after reading the room. He asked everyone to join him in cutting costs and finding growth opportunities in the cuts’ effects. He went well above crunching mere numbers; he gave people hope by focusing on their growth and satisfaction instead of dwelling on their shared tight spot.

And greater still was how Hsieh showed that being a good influencer isn’t just about ticking off productivity goals, but rather about finding a balance among productivity, satisfaction, and growth. Each component is vital in any business, and missing one in favor of another can lead to a lopsided leadership approach that can push a company off-track.

To figure this out, ask yourself: Are you effectively categorizing the outcomes of your actions? Are you setting the stage for interactions that are truly meaningful at work? And, importantly, are you framing the benefits of your actions so that they resonate with everyone involved? This kind of self-assessment is critical to pinpointing your strengths and areas where you can enhance your influence.

If your attempts at influencing others sometimes miss the mark, it’s worth reconsidering how you’ve been doing things. Are you carefully weighing factors like productivity, personal satisfaction, and growth in your decision-making? And more importantly, have you tailored your approach enough to fit specific situations and the unique needs of those involved? Give yourself a rating between 1 and 10 on these questions. You’ll be surprised at how effective this self-rating practice can be at revealing where your influence stands and in which areas you might need some fine-tuning or significant development.

If you ever question the impact of self-awareness, consider Marie’s experience while enrolled in a professional development program. When confronted with the dilemma of choosing between a high-paying job and a role more aligned with her core values, Marie realized the significance of value alignment. It was the key to harmonizing her personal and professional priorities. Her decision underscores the critical role of aligning actions with core values, an essential element of positive influence. How does this connect to you? Marie’s story mirrors the types of decisions you might encounter in your journey of self-assessment. Like her, you may find that choosing paths leading to genuine satisfaction and growth is fundamental to evolving into a leader who commands respect and inspires loyalty.

In short, being a good influencer is maintaining the balance among different elements of a situation. Above all else, you must always be willing to learn and adapt to new things – it’s the best way to influence your environment with the turn of every season.

Why being influential is hard

The ability to influence others can feel like a burden more than a blessing on some days. Let’s dive into some common obstacles that top leaders often face in effectively wielding influence – complete with real-life scenarios for clearer understanding.

The first classic challenge is aligning divergent interests, which many leaders describe as akin to walking a long tightrope. If you’re at the helm of the automotive industry’s shift to automation, you might risk imbalance when you overemphasize technology and operations while overlooking engagement with workers currently upskilling and transitioning into new roles. This neglect can lead to a workforce grappling with fear and feeling undervalued, which can affect your company’s performance.

Balancing short-term and long-term priorities is another unavoidable hurdle. Picture yourself as a CEO of a rapidly growing company needing to secure investor buy-in for crucial technology investments. Now, imagine doing this during a revenue downturn caused by a pandemic. You’d immediately see that the scenario speaks to the importance of addressing immediate operational needs without sacrificing long-term strategic goals that could put your company on the map for future readiness.

Setting and managing performance expectations is also a significant source of headaches for many leaders. Imagine a scenario in which plummeting commodity prices lead to a sales crisis, and a chief of sales, on the brink of retirement, shows a lack of motivation. If you’re the CEO, you must face the gargantuan task of inspiring exceptional effort among those you direct, including the chief of sales, to maintain performance standards amid adversity.

Think that’s already peak difficulty? Wait! There are also performance shortfalls to worry about, which are their own class of difficulties. What if you’re in charge of a commercial bank struggling to meet its budget with underperforming divisions? You would likely admit that turning the issue around is even more demanding when you realize you have to review the performance of your peers. To make difficult choices, especially those involving long-serving employees who may be underperforming, requires a lot of tact.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also market perception to influence. While a company might thrive internally, navigating a disconnect between robust performance and stagnant stock prices can be an unbelievably ruthless experience. The CEO often has to brainstorm multilevel communications with all company personnel to bridge this gap, which is no mean feat. Additionally, this issue is tied to the importance of attracting top talent in hyper-competitive, increasingly environmentally aware markets, which can keep any leader up at night.

So what do these common challenges tell us? Well, wielding positive influence is more than just calling the shots. As a leader with a broad reach, you will constantly juggle different personalities, expectations, and priorities.

So, in a nutshell, it takes serious skills to lead with influence. With this fact in mind, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of how you can sharpen these skills to become a maestro of influence.

The fourfold path to lasting influence

Influence is an art, and like any art, it has its fundamentals. Let’s break down the four key principles that can help you master the foundation of being influential.

First, be strategically deliberate. You need a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve at all times, in any scenario. This means you have to get better at planning, doing, and adjusting on the fly. Why? Three words: high-stakes situations – which occur more often than you want. When there’s no room for a do-over in these situations, deliberate planning and execution are crucial. This involves understanding the context, identifying pressure points, and making timely judgments to influence stakeholders effectively.

Second, always understand pressure points in context. Every situation requiring your influence is unique due to its context, which is affected by multiple factors such as current company dynamics, market position, stakeholder interests, and the key leadership roles involved. Understanding these aspects on an ad-hoc basis helps you identify the right pressure points to work around to your advantage. Obviously, to get to this point, you have to be familiar not only with your company’s business performance and a situation’s technical aspects but also the emotional and personal dimensions of all stakeholders involved.

Third, set task and relationship objectives – simultaneously. Remember, successful influence is not just about getting any job done or KPI met. It’s also effectively managing people you’re working with. You’ve got to juggle what you want them to do – which is the “task” – with how you want them to feel about the whole experience – that’s the relationship bit. A great leader gets things done while keeping everyone on board happy.

Last but not least: learn to influence in the moment, on the go. This is where the rubber meets the road. For example, in a high-stakes meeting where things aren’t going as planned, you have to know how to read the room and adjust your problem-solving approach accordingly.

Let’s take a page from the IBM playbook and see how the company’s sales leader used these four principles to win back a major client – Mark, the CIO of a large supermarket chain.

In applying deliberateness, the sales leader knew he couldn’t just show up at Mark’s office and wing it. So he came up with a solid plan, including a tangible outcome he’d rehearsed for. Throughout the meeting with Mark, he stuck with the steps – because he knew he could not simply take a shot in the dark and hope for the best. The sales leader also understood the context and pressure points at hand: Mark was mad at IBM for various reasons, including high prices, rumors about mainframes being obsolete, and some good old-fashioned corporate bureaucracy. From here, his objectives were clear: IBM was not just selling a product, but also fixing a broken relationship. This meant the leader had to balance the act of convincing Mark of the worth of IBM’s product while also restoring his trust. Throughout it all, the sales leader did the best thing he could do: think on his feet. In moments during the meeting when things got tense, the sales leader would need to read the CIO’s reactions, adapt his pitch accordingly, and maybe even go off-script to address any on-the-fly concerns.

Ultimately, through a tailored, intuitive approach based on the foundations of influence we outlined earlier, the sales leader turned a skeptical Mark into a client again.

You see how influence works? Understanding these four steps is the key to amplifying your influence. With persistent practice, you can refine your skills much like a sculptor carefully chiseling a marble statue. Over time, as you hone your approach and strip away any unwanted excess, your most authentic and effective leadership style will emerge.


True influence transcends authority and is not synonymous with manipulation or communication. It has nothing to do with popularity – and everything to do with outcomes that can benefit everyone, not just you. By understanding its inherent challenges in business and applying the right steps to transform your leadership, you’ll be poised to inspire others and achieve lasting success.

About the Author

Tsun-Yan Hsieh & Huijin Kong

Nina Norman is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. She has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Nina has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. She is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Nina lives in London, England with her husband and two children. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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