What is the connection between cognitive dissonance and leadership? Well, in a business environment, leaders need to do everything in their power to gain a competitive edge for their company. It includes dealing with people outside as well as inside of their respective organizations. They need to possess a specific set of skills that helps them communicate and persuade others of their opinions.

And when it comes to persuasion, in particular, cognitive dissonance plays an incredibly crucial role. In the realm of psychology, cognitive dissonance is a mental discomfort that arises in people every time they make a decision or take an action that doesn’t align with their beliefs, values, and prior commitments. When faced with contradictory facts to their ideals people will want to eliminate that psychological stress and maintain a consistent view of the world around them.

By creating this type of cognitive dissonance within people will help you, as a leader, to increase your ability to persuade.

How to Use Cognitive Dissonance to Your Advantage?

Many of us have noticed that, when we try to persuade others, they, in turn, try to resist. If, for instance, we were looking to convince someone to buy something and they sensed it, the chances are that it won’t work. It is the case even when that person wants, needs, and can afford that item. It is in these scenarios where dissonance will work to your advantage. In a way, it will help people persuade themselves.

Over the years, neuroscientists have made great strides in understanding how the human brain processes information. And as it turns out, our brains are incredibly biased, particularly regarding religion and politics. When playing the role of the persuader, you can’t merely slam people with facts and hope that they will view things your way. You need to make cognitive dissonance work in your favour, not against you.

You will need to make people experience that dissonance by showing them where they are and where they want to go. In other words, you need to paint a picture of the problem they have and how you can solve it.

Cognitive Dissonance, the Self-Perception Theory, and Persuasion

One particularly exciting aspect of dissonance is that it subconsciously urges people to remain consistent with their beliefs or commitments. It is what’s known as the self-perception theory and, in a nutshell, states that people’s actions drive their personality and attitudes, not the other way around. Though it might seem counterintuitive at first, it’s something that most people realized about themselves at one point or another.

For example, a person who perceives himself or herself as interested in hiking may end up buying the equipment to go camping. But according to this theory, it’s because they bought the stuff and went on camping trips, in the first place, that people believe themselves to have an interest in the activity. It’s the action that drives the attitude, and you can use it to motivate a person to take the desired effect.

Here are the four steps to help you do that:

Step 1 – Discover their Belief – What do they believe in, what are their past experiences and attitude towards you, your company, and your product?

Step 2 – The Commitment – Get people to voluntarily commit to their beliefs, preferably in a public way.

Step 3 – Generate Dissonance –  Once you get that commitment, create dissonance by showing them that they’ve not kept up with their engagement.

Step 4 – Offer the Solution – Whenever you create dissonance, you should also offer a solution by explaining why your product, service, or opinion can solve that issue.

By using cognitive dissonance to their advantage, leaders can persuade others of their views and opinions. If you want to learn more, let’s connect on https://go.oncehub.com/GregNichvalodoff or greg@inscapeconsulting.com.

Leave a comment