Leadership Influence

The person with the most flexibility has the most influence!

So why do people ask for help then push back with no flexibility? Makes no sense, a contradiction in terms. Why do some people behave that way?

Is it a need for significance? To stroke their ego, or do they HAVE to be ‘right’ and make other people ‘wrong’?

Some questions and concerns came up in a recent coaching session with John, a client of mine, who gave me permission to share this today. We both agreed this would be useful and valuable to you in your communications with the people in your life, perhaps your teams or leaders.  We have not included specific names for confidentiality purposes.

During this particular session, John a business consultant asked… “How come some people who say they want help are the most inflexible and even resistant to help?

Hmmm… Good question I thought. Why do you ask?

He went on to explain how he’d recently had a meeting with a local manager who belonged to a large organization and he was looking for help to grow business locally. “The meeting went fine” John said, “but not that great”.

Why didn’t it go that great John?

John said – “I was excited and happy to help of course, and I knew based on my expertise, I could provide him with a lot of value  and solutions to his problems.  So we talked for a while getting to know each other and I asked him several questions and listened a lot.  I learned based on his needs that I could certainly help. So  I came up with several ways to help him and he didn’t like any of them”.

Fair enough, I thought, let’s see what we else we can come up with.

So I asked him, to tell me more, what ideas did the manager have?

John replied – “He could only think of one and he wasn’t very clear on that. What was clear though was the fact that he was looking for a free lunch. He wanted my services for free. I wouldn’t mind as a one-time gesture but he’d already had my services for free in the past on top of the resources and consulting session I’d just provided to him.”

So it sounds like you’ve given a lot John.


So what next?

“Well the fact he was rude and spoke down to me I didn’t care for, but mostly the entitlement free mindset was the kicker. I gotta put food on the table too ‘ya know.” John laughed.

Yes of course you do, John. So where do we go from here I asked?

“Well I’d be happy to help the organization out, but this fella is not someone I care to do business with unfortunately. I learned a long time ago, the nice part about being in business is you get to choose who you want to work with, it’s not like in a corporate setting where you are forced to work with a particular person.”

Good point John.

If I may suggest, you might want to consider reaching out to someone else in that organization if that’s something you are open to doing?

“Yep, since I know I can help them, it would be a disservice not to.”

Sometimes we don’t get to choose who we work with and then sometimes we do. The person with the most flexibility has the most influence. The person who is the most rigid, inflexible finds it hard to make progress. Basic respect and manners in business is always good for business too and a humane way of being.

So I am curious, what have some of your experiences been? What else could John do? What are your thoughts?

Love to see your comments, any questions below.

Janet I Mueller - 032214Janet I Mueller is the founder of Leadership In Excellence Academy. She is published author, leadership development coach, speaker and consultant. As area vice president with a national home health company she successfully led and developed a diverse team of sales executives and clinicians. She has successfully led teams and multi-million dollar territories with fortune 500 and 100 companies in the direct sales industry. Janet is hired to speak, teach, consult and provides executive coaching and training for personal growth, transformation and leadership development. Janet is a mentor to entrepreneurs for the ‘Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship’. She has appeared on SNN6, ABC 7 and Daytime NBC.



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