The Pull Style is a form of influencing which works by understanding what is important to someone else and then utilising this. Want an example of how the pull style actually works in real life? Take this story shared by one of our Engaging Executives in training, Michael.

He’s been conducting performance reviews with his staff recently. He has about 80 people in his team and he’s been spending about half an hour with them, to understand their motives and goals a little bit better. In his words, he’s “been able to really use the push style of influence in some instances, mixed with a bit of pull, just to soften it up.”

There was one interaction with one of his team members, though, that really stuck out to him as a way that the pull style of influence really works to create a better workplace environment for both leaders and staff, as well as a stronger team, filled with individuals who are fulfilling their motives for their positions.

“A young lady was acting as an EL1 (middle manager)…while another lady’s on maternity leave, and she’s returning to her APS6 (supervisor level) job, and there’s been stress around that. She’s been doing this job for about eight or nine months, and she’s going back to her normal job and she’s a bit concerned about what’s happening,” says Michael.

“So in the discussion with her, I chunked up quite well, and I was surprised how quickly, and how well it worked. But it got to the fact that, the reason this individual wants to beat the EL1 level, is because they get a voice, and are able to influence on whole of government, discussions, forums, working groups, and that she didn’t feel that, when she made it back to her APS6 job, that she’d be able to have that voice. She’s a young, Aboriginal woman, and that was really important to her.

So I was able then to have a discussion with her, and said, just because you go back to your APS6 job, doesn’t mean you can’t participate and be involved in those working groups anymore…And just to see the light on her face and the stress — you could automatically just see it wash away from her.

”This is an excellent example of using the pull style of influence to understand what really is the driving motive for the individual you’re working with. In this case, it wasn’t the promotion to the EL1 job that the young lady really wanted, but rather the voice it gave her and the valued participation she experienced with these working groups. She didn’t want to lose that voice, and she feared that was exactly what would happen when she went back to her previous role.

Michael used the pull style effectively to find out what was going on inside her head, and then use that to strengthen his team and build a better relationship with his team member, creating 100 percent alignment between leader and follower. Now, the employee feels much more confident about their role at the company, regardless of title, and Michael has further developed his stance as a good leader within his organisation.

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