Don’t bother trying to persuade your boss of a new idea while he’s feeling the power of his position – new research suggests he’s not listening to you.
“Powerful people have confidence in what they are thinking. Whether their thoughts are positive or negative toward an idea, that position is going to be hard to change,” said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
The best way to get leaders to consider new ideas is to put them in a situation where they don’t feel as powerful, the research suggests.
“If you temporarily make a powerful person feel less powerful, you have a better chance of getting them to pay attention,” said Pablo Briñol, lead author of the study and a social psychologist at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. Briñol is a former postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State.
The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
This research looks at an issue that has been largely ignored by social scientists, Petty said. Many studies have looked at how the power of a person delivering a message impacts those who receive it. But this appears to be the first study that looks at how the power of the message recipient affects persuasion.
(HT Joe Carter)