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Learning to be an inner leader engages the individual in a variety of behaviors intended to persuade others to his or her point of view. The following may be useful to leaders to assess and increase their experience in learning to persuade followers.

Activity 1: Self-Assessment—Persuasion

Introduction. One of the key elements of exemplary inner leadership is the leader’s persuasive credibility. Having credibility allows a leader to undertake the task of persuading others of necessary changes with sincerity and with followers’ trust. Following are the elements of persuasive credibility.

  1. Rate yourself on each of the items using the following scale:





    _____ 1. I state my position clearly.

    _____ 2. My coworkers and subordinates always know where I stand.

    _____ 3. I listen to other people’s opinions carefully and respectfully.

    _____ 4. I accept disagreement from my coworkers and followers.

    _____ 5. I try to integrate my point of view with those of others.

    _____ 6. I encourage and practice constructive feedback.

    _____ 7. I encourage and practice cooperation.

    _____ 8. I build consensus out of differing views.

    _____ 9. I develop my coworkers’ and subordinates’ skills.

    _____ 10. I provide frequent positive feedback and encouragement.

    _____ 11. I hold myself and others accountable for actions.

    _____ 12. I practice what I preach.

    Total: _____

    Scoring key: Add up your rating for all twelve items. The maximum score is 48. A higher score indicates demonstrations of behaviors that build persuasive credibility.

  2. Are there any items for which you have a low score? If yes, those are areas that you need to target in order to build your persuasive credibility. List items with a low score.

  3. What can you do about them? Concentrate on clear and specific behaviors.

  4. Develop short-term and long-term goals.

  5. When will you know that you have improved?

  6. How will you measure yourself?

Activity 2: Case Study—A Problem in Listening? Or What?

In the Midland Toy Company two of the sessions in the ten-session leadership development program are concerned with the topic of communication and its importance in leadership success. Near the end of the first session, Jim Brown, head of the maintenance section, volunteered the comment that even though he found the topic to be interesting and agreed that it was important, something vital was missing in the corporation’s training program. “As a unit head, my problem is that people just don’t know how to listen,” he said. “With a lot of my people after I spend a great deal of effort instructing them as to exactly what to do, they’re just as likely to be doing something entirely different when I check on their progress later. What we should do is set up a course in good listening and have all our employees take it.”

  1. What do you think the real problem is that Mr. Brown is discussing?

  2. Do you agree with Jim that communication can be improved by having people develop better listening skills?

  3. Do you agree that such a course would be helpful in your work community? Why or why not?

  4. In any communication situation, who has ultimate responsibility for communication success or failure? Why?

  5. Is Jim Brown a good persuader? What role does persuasion have in this kind of communication process?

  6. Do you think Mr. Brown is effective as a communicator? How might he be better?

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