The 5 (Types of) People that Influence You

We live in a world where we are constantly bumping up against people and ideas. Humans are made for community. We thrive in social settings. The best of our work and play happens when we are together. Each of us as a high capacity to influence others. Whether we want to or not, whether we mean to or not, the way we live our life impacts the people around us.

Influence can encourage us in our identity or push us away from it. It can edify or destroy us. It confounds as often as it reveals. While we go on about the business of crashing in on one another, it is important to notice the kinds of people who influence us. After all, we, in kind, have the very same capacity to influence others.

The Director

We all know this guy. He is a little bit like a dictator. This is the person who influences you by command. And the only reason you allow this influence is because they are in a position of established authority.

The Director micromanages. He orders. He is the kind of leader who sees his role as standing firmly (and solely) between his followers and utter chaos.

Sometimes The Director is good. If an accident happened, a cop might serve as a director. Many people have positions of authority exactly for these types of occurrences.

But by and large, The Director is a frustrating way to be led. It steals our autonomy and undervalues our agency. A lot of our rebellion towards authority has to do with a deep need to set boundaries based on the experiences we have with Directive Leadership. Conversely, a lot of our unhealthy co-dependent hero-worship comes from the same source.

 

The Trader

A broker of sorts, the trader offers you either punishment or reward for your behavior. The master of transaction. We are influenced by people who are able to give us things we want – a salary, sex, etc. We are equally influenced by those who can take things away from us, withhold reward, or punish us.

Our behaviors are most often driven by the outcomes we foresee. The trader makes threats or promises in order to influence how you feel, think, and behave. We do this with children, promising toys for a moment of quiet or a spanking for another outburst.

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