Everyone balances doing good for others, doing things they are good at, and doing good for themselves. Other-focused leaders think first about how to do good for others while self-focused leaders begin with their own needs in mind. Thus, other-focused leaders instinctively do what Lee Miller suggests can help everyone improve their ability to influence others – begin with a “U Perspective.”
The U Perspective is the core principle in Lee Miller and Barbara Jackson’s book, UP Influence, Power and the U Perspective – The Art of Getting What You Want. At its base, U Perspective is about seeing things from the other’s perspective. Miller explains how people can use that technique in influencing others, the key skill differentiating great leaders, negotiators, salespeople and team members.
Outcomes versus relationships
Miller suggests people need to balance outcomes and relationships in getting what they want. If you focus too much on the outcomes, you hurt relationships. And, if you focus too much on relationships, you may not get to the outcomes you need. He notes this balance is an art and getting it right is different in different cultures around the world.
Miller suggests a “Must – Trust – Now – How” framework for selling. Your prospects must have a need or desire for what you’re selling (from their U Perspective.). They must trust you can deliver. They must believe the time is right now. And they must know how to make it happen (and afford it.)
Convince – Collaborate – Create
One of Miller’s more powerful frameworks plays off the intersection of convince, collaborate and create. Convincing is about demonstrating that your offering is something they already care about and want. This is subjective and emotional. Collaborating is a rational, interest-based, problem-solving approach. This is more objective. Creating is about changing the structure of interactions to get to different results.
- Demonstrate offering is something they already care about and want (subjective/emotional)
- Active listening
- Purposeful questioning
- Delivering the message
- Rational interest-based problem-solving approach (objective)
- Make it a better deal (Win-win negotiating)
- Develop relationships
- Leverage relationships
- Determine interests
- Taking advantage of value differences
- Change the structure of interaction
- Examine assumptions
- Explore alternates
- Try different things
- Change the people
- Create new paradigms
Negotiating versus influencing
Miller describes how negotiators sit on opposite sides of the table making trade-offs and compromises to get the best outcome for themselves or the people they represent. Win-win negotiating is the best they can do as that gives them both a winning outcome and preserves a winning relationship.
Someone influencing another sits on the same side of the table as they do. They’re not keeping score, but helping the person they are influencing do what’s best for them.
While self-focused leaders can discipline themselves to influence at times, it does not come naturally. Their natural default is to negotiate. And when they are influencing, they are doing so because it is ultimately in their own best interests to do so.
Influencing is an other-focused leader’s natural default. For other-focused leaders, Miller’s U Perspective is not a technique, it’s how they think. They begin with others’ U Perspective not to get what they want themselves, but rather to help the other get what they want.
As I suggested in an earlier article, this is why the world needs more other-focused leaders.
While each individual balances doing good for others, doing things they are good at, and doing good for themselves differently, those that care more about doing good for others naturally attract like-minded followers and inspire and enable them to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. Other-focused BRAVE leaders:
- Play where they and their teams can do the most good for others.
- Care about what matters to the people they are trying to impact and seek to understand why it matters to them.
- Pull together the combined strengths of others, knowing that the world needs three types of leaders: artistic, scientific and interpersonal.
- Enable others to communicate.
- Strive for impact on others