Part of being an Engaging Executive is being able to guide your colleagues in the directions you want them to take, planting yourself as their leader. In other words, you want to be able to positively influence them in such a way that also positively affects your own career and goals. There are several different modes of influencing those around you, but one that’s particularly useful to the Engaging Executive is the “Pull” style.

So what does this mean? Well, the “Pull” style is a very subtle and elegant way of influencing those around you, and, while powerful, isn’t often employed, because it can be a little difficult to master. Instead of pushing people to get them where you need them to go (like in the case of a boss constantly dictating or micromanaging employees), you’re, in a sense, pulling new resources out of those around you who are following your direction, and helping them to discover their own reasons for making the choices you’re after.

This method is so powerful simply because it makes the other individual being guided feel important and valuable to the team, meaning that they work harder and better to accomplish the common goals which you, as the leader, have set. They become passionate and enthusiastic about these goals, while you guide them in the right direction through questions, rather than commands. They have a sense that they’re making the decisions you want, all on their own.

The secret to using the Pull method is to ask a series of questions that steer someone in the direction you’d like, without seeming like you’re imposing your own opinions on them. When using this method, it’s important to ask a lot of open questions (and never “why,” which can make the other individual on-edge or defensive), and to use many first-person, plural terms, such as “we,” “us” and “our.” Then, make your voice match the mood — be friendly, curious and non-threatening. Your body language should be similar, with a nice smile, open hand gestures and relaxed posture. Remember, you’re guiding, not directing.

How can you give your Pull techniques a try? In the next meeting you have in which there’s a certain goal you want accomplished (which requires others to act in your favour), try to use as few statements as possible, and instead try to use as many questions as you can. Make sure that these questions are open-ended and use a lot of “what” and “how” phrasing. The goal is to strategically ask questions that get your listeners’ minds to go where you want, so that they’re figuring out how to give you what you need, without even knowing it.

Not sure if the Pull method could work for you? Don’t feel confident that you could ever be an Engaging Executive? Maybe it’s time to take our quick Engaging Executive Questionnaire, to see how you currently engage with others, and where you need to improve your skills.

As always, stay tuned to our LinkedIn page and blog for more tips on how to reach your goals by becoming an Engaging Executive, ready to take on your office, industry and the world.