Monday, December 23, 2013

The Influence Style Spectrum: Five Preferences

This post continues a series of articles about influence style and the Influence Style Indicator (ISI) assessment developed by Discovery Learning, Inc. and Innovative Pathways.

We are all aware of the distinctive influence styles that people demonstrate. Some of these styles we instinctively understand and appreciate, while others we may find confusing, unclear, and frustrating. Our research has definitively identified five styles of influence. These five distinctive styles are Rationalizing, Asserting, Negotiating, Inspiring and Bridging. You can improve your leadership effectiveness if you know where you fall on the Influence Style Spectrum, when to modify your style, understand what situations your style works best in, and when it may prove ineffective. 

  • Asserting - You insist that your ideas are heard and considered and you challenge the ideas of others.
  • Rationalizing - You put forward your ideas and offer facts, logical, rational reasons to convince others of your point of view.
  • Negotiating - You look for compromises and make  concessions to reach outcomes that satisfy your greater interest. 
  • Inspiring - You advocate your position and encourage others with a sense of shared purpose and exciting possibilities.
  • Bridging - You build relationships and connect with others through listening, understanding and building mutually beneficial coalitions.

Understanding these styles can offer a critical window not only to your own ability to influence but also to appreciating how members of your team can work more effectively with each other. To best utilize each of these styles, leaders need to understand:

     • The value of each style
     • The most appropriate time to use each style
     • How each style can be used effectively
     • How each style might be used ineffectively

Contact us at Discovery Learning, Inc. for more information about the Influence Style Indicator assessment and how it might benefit your group or team.

See Also:

"Getting Your Way: Personal Style and Influence"


2011 Musselwhite, W. C., Penny, J. & Plouffe, T.  Influence Style Indicator Research & Development Report.  Discovery Learning Press,  Greensboro, NC.

2011 Musselwhite, W.C. & Plouffe, T.  Influence Style Indicator Style Guide.  Discovery Learning Press, Greensboro, NC.

This post was adapted from a white paper by Chris Musselwhite, EdD, president and CEO of Discovery Learning, Inc.

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