Your Influence Behavior, Assesed & Analyzed

What is the Leverage Inventory?

12 Influence Tactics

Types of Power

Development & Validation

What is

Leverage Inventory?

This inventory assesses the frequency with which a person uses various influence tactics.

The purpose of the inventory is to illuminate both a person’s overall level of influence activity and the particular tactics he/she favors. One of the motivating ideas is that people tend to have “go to” moves when it comes to influence, limiting themselves – perhaps without knowing it – to a narrow range of tactics. There are actually a wide range of tactics available. Those most effective at wielding influence avail themselves of the full range.

This inventory explicitly assesses behavior, not fixed traits. The individual profiles we present are malleable. Those who currently appear influential must continue to cultivate these behaviors or risk their influence atrophying. Those who do not currently appear influential have considerable opportunity to change their behavior. This instrument is designed to show the areas with the greatest possibility for improvement, as well as those areas where the returns to improvement are likely to be greatest.

12 Influence Tactics

This inventory includes 12 influence tactics, described briefly below. We group them into four categories of three tactics each.

PERSUASION These categories comes from traditional rhetoric.




Establishes credibility.

Uses logic, well-reasoned arguments and/or data to persuade.

Conveys messages in a way that has emotional resonance.

RELATIONSHIPS: NEGOTIATION Tactics fundamental to any negotiation.




Seeks to understand others. The opposite of ego-centrism. Related to empathy and perspective-taking.

Trades favors and concessions. Bargains. Connected more broadly to reciprocity.

Able to tolerate conflict, confront difficult issues, and use formal authority when necessary.

RELATIONSHIPS: STRUCTURE The organization, cultivation and activation of relationships.




Cultivates a broad, disparate network.

Identifies and builds support among key people.

Builds cohesive groups. Strongly connected to organizational culture and socialization.

META-TOOLS Unique features of this inventory, these are “tactics for tactics”. Broadly, these tools inform the what, when, where, why and how of the other tactics.


Situation Awareness


Acts with a goal in mind. Willing to make trade-offs in service of goals, eschewing distractions, even worthy ones. Related to focus.

Sensitive to how timing, priorities, risk and other factors vary with context. Receives a great deal of attention in military and aviation operations. Related to psychological work on change blindness and system neglect.

Shapes situations. The willingness and inclination to work outside of prescribed roles. Closely related to initiative.

Types of Power


Hard power is fundamentally coercive, using force of some kind to change others’ behavior. The source of that force is often formal authority but can be merely the willingness to be disagreeable. Hard power is also unyielding in the face of other people’s coercive attempts.

Related tacticsEthosMightCoalitions


Soft power is fundamentally relational, influencing others by connecting with them. It is often about getting others to do what you want because they like you, but also because you better understand them. Soft power operates at multiple levels, building relationships one-on-one, attending to the cohesiveness of teams, and swaying larger groups through emotions.


Smart power is fundamentally analytical, increasing impact through a better understanding of situation, goals and constraints. It is about perspective, a meta influence tool helping determine the right tactic for a specific place and time. Smart power allows one to work creatively beyond explicit specifications and outside of convention.

Development & Validation

We have developed this tool in recent years, in the MBA and Executive MBA programs at Yale, Penn and NYU. There are a wide range of influences, notably French & Raven, Robert Caro and Jeffrey Pfeffer. While a number of the strategies we assess are standard and seen in many instruments, our work with students has led us to develop scales for a number of new strategies as well.

 The instrument behaves well empirically. The scales we developed for each strategy are reliable, with alphas between .70 and .85. They are also unique, with a statistically significant intra‐class correlation. Importantly, the scales also show validity, with behavioral tactics reliably related to ratings of a person’s overall influence ratings. This applies to each of the 12 individual scales, as well as the 3 factors that summarize the scales. Most important, the instrument has split‐sample validity – behavioral ratings from half an individual’s raters positively correlate with the influence ratings from the other half.


Much of the analysis that follows is relative to a comparison group. For this report the comparison group is the student’s classmates. This raises a couple of issues:


  1. This comparison group may not be representative of the broader population. So, behavior we evaluate as extreme may be perfectly normal in another setting (and vice versa).
  2. Participants are rated by different people. And in fact these raters are sometimes in wildly varying situations. This makes comparisons to class averages less than apples‐to‐apples. For most participants this won’t materially affect their results (due to large samples), but inevitably there will be some whose ratings that are skewed as a result.