People may balk at the idea of wanting more power – or at least admitting to this – but almost everyone, with a few exceptions, would say they would like more influence than they currently have. That said, how we perceive influence can be both an asset in getting more and a liability in truly expanding our reach. Here are some quotes by famous people that reflect how each type tends to perceive influence, followed by the benefits and limitations of this thinking.
Note: The use of the quotation is not intended to suggest that the quote’s author is a particular type, only that the quote reflects that type’s thinking about influence.
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. ~ Albert Einstein
Ones do believe that influencing by their own example is the primary way to demonstrate their integrity – “walking the talk” – and they use this mode effectively as their primary influencing mode. Their secondary influencing pattern is that of stating clearly formulated opinions to convince others. However, influencing by both setting a stellar example and being right are often not enough to really extends one’s reach. Relationships, connection, and development of networks are examples of additional modes for Ones to pursue.
We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why. ~ Stephen King
Twos truly believe that influencing people through offering resources, time, attention, advice and more is one of their strongest assets. Two also like to influence people and events behind the scenes; they prefer being the advisor to the king or queen rather than the holder of the royal title themselves, and they get very good at this. While this way of influencing makes Twos feel wonderful and important when others listen and when what the Two has suggested or done works well, the Two’s self-worth is at risk when it does not. In addition, Twos don’t often know when their influencing in this way has actually been effective and/or responsible for a particular end result. Thus, the Twos’ self-worth can often hang in limbo. There is a key area in which Twos can increase their ability to influence others. Simply and clearly stated, it is to stand up assertively or step non-ambivalently into roles, rather than to hide behind those with authorized power and thus gain secondary, indirect influence.
While everyone exercises influence, the size and strength of our influence depends upon our effort. ~ John Maxwell
Threes believe this statement to be true and it helps them gain more influence, but only to a degree. And is it really true? While everyone might want influence, some people actually posses very little of it, hardly enough to say they “exercise” it. Second, there is a more fundamental question. Does our influence depend on our effort? From the mindset of type Three, everything you want to increase requires significant effort on their part. Ironically, however, the more you try, often the less you get. And the more you allow instead of trying so hard almost all the time, often what you really want is either already there or simply comes into the space you’ve created for it. Influence especially works this way. Truly powerful influence comes from your state of being, and this cannot be self-generated. When your state of being – not your state of doing – flows from you, others feel your integrity, depth of intelligence and compassion. They simply want to be around you, to listen to you, and are open to your influence.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Fours love to aspire to vision the future where all is not-yet-known, and so their best way of influencing – at least their most practiced and effective mode – is that of setting up a future that both they themselves and others can yearn for. But this way of influencing through values and a future way of being has its limits. Compelling, yes. But on a day-to-day basis, many Fours give up the on-going influencing that directly impacts the lives of others. To gain the ability to do this is not that difficult. Simply listen to the desires of others, both current and practical as well as distant, and communicate practical possibilities that you believe are important that support the other person’s needs. Recognize that the ability to influence builds, so that these short-term influencing moments create the basis for longer-term possibilities.
The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret. ~ Salvadore Dali
Fives keep themselves the best kept secret in the world, but when it comes to influencing, secret influence limits influence. And secret influence can also create suspiciousness in others. Others may wonder: What is he or she up to? The simple solution is to come out more to others directly. Since you are already likely a thought leader, make yourself more visible regarding matters that are important to you.
Don’t walk in my head with your dirty feet. ~ Leo Buscaglia
Sixes don’t like other people to try to manipulate their minds – hence, this obscure but slightly amusing Buscaglia quote – and many inept and not-so-inept influencers do try to manipulate other people. No one likes to be influenced this way and particularly not Enneagram Sixes. It’s as if they have an extra sense that perceives this type of deception. The problem is that when Sixes themselves want to influence others, they try extra hard not to do anything devious or manipulative. They also don’t feel comfortable pressuring people in any way since they dislike being pressured themselves. All of these “don’ts,” while important, can put obstacles in front of Sixes and reduce their ability to influence. Here’s an idea: how about simply sharing with others how you understand a situation that you are trying to influence. With you smarts, wit, sense of irony and complexity, just go for it and don’t let all the “don’ts” inhibit you from being more spontaneous about influencing other people.
Every thought which genius and piety throw into the world alters the world. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sevens live in a world that elevates ideas into an art form or a spiritual ideal and, as a result, Sevens primarily try to influence others through their ideas. But this kind of influencing, from the Mental Center primarily, is only a third of the influencing equation, and people are more effectively influenced when the heart and the gut are also involved. Influencing from all three Centers of Intelligence is simply more powerful because it reaches the whole being of the other person. The suggestion for Sevens is to influence others from the Seven’s wholeness – in other words, be in your heart as well as your head when you try to influence others and make sure your influencing intention is actionable. This is where the power to influence lies.
The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eights, at their best, influence others through a deep and abiding belief in the other person’s capabilities, most often lending the Eight’s own confidence to others, almost as an infusion of inner power. At their worst, Eights try to influence others by being the loudest voice, being intimidating, and the handing out of rewards and punishments. The first way in which Eights influence is a wonderful, positively oriented skill. The second way may work, but it hurts more than it helps, at least in the long run. It is a non-sustainable way of influencing. For Eights, the overlooked and best way of influencing is through their strategic minds. Eights typically take their strategic minds for granted because this is simply what they do. But if they understood its real value and put more words to it than they typically do when they communicate with others, the Eight’s influence would rise exponentially.
In order to have influence, you have to be influenced. ~ Stephen Covey
Nines believe the above statement to be true, and many people – not Nines, however – miss the importance of reciprocity involved in influencing. In other words, people tend to be more influenced by people they also influence and vice versa. Certainly there are those who influence very little but are easily influenced by others, just as there are highly influential people who are not particularly influenced by others. However, most influence works reciprocally. What Nines miss out on is that they don’t exert as much influencing energy as they could and, as a result, their influencing reciprocity quotient – that is, the amount they engage in reciprocal influencing – is far less than it could be. If Nines influenced more and were influenced more, volia!
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org