Six Sources of Influence


There are many different sources of influence worldwide: from family and friends to companies and organizations.

Each has a unique way of influencing people through offering rewards or threatening punishment.

The trick is knowing how to recognize each type of influence so that you can respond accordingly.

Personal motivation

Personal motivation is influenced by your internal characteristics, such as your values and goals.

If you have high intrinsic motivation for a goal—if it’s something that you care about and enjoy doing—you’re more likely to engage in behaviors that will help you achieve that goal.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about the outcome or have little belief in your ability to succeed at attaining it, then there’s not much reason for you to expend effort on it.

Personal ability

Personal ability refers to your ability to do the work and do it well. For example, if you are a software developer and don’t know JavaScript, you won’t be able to complete your job as expected. This also means that if you’ve never used Git before, then asking for help isn’t an option.

In addition to knowing what you’re doing and completing the work promptly, the personal ability can also mean working independently without supervision.

For example, if someone has worked for years with little supervision or oversight from management or clients on similar projects, this would demonstrate a high level of personal ability.

Social motivation

Social motivation is the desire to do something because other people want you to. This can be a powerful force for good, as when someone feels that they need to live up to their parent’s expectations, or it can be a bad thing, such as when someone feels like they need approval from others at all times.

To understand social motivation better, imagine yourself at a party with your friends and family—and suddenly, your boss shows up! What do you do? Do you run over and talk business with him? Or do you hide in the bathroom until he leaves?

Social ability

In the influence world, the social ability is the ability to influence others. It’s a skill that can be learned and improved—and it’s one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Structural Motivation

Structural motivation is the desire to achieve goals imposed by others, such as your boss or your parents. It can also refer to the desire to avoid punishment.

Structural motivation often refers to avoiding negative consequences, such as being fired from a job or losing income if you don’t do what someone else wants you to do.

Structural ability

Structural ability is a person’s ability to change their environment in such a way that it will affect others.

This can influence others and bring about positive change in the world around you. For example, if you have the structural ability, you might decide to start your own business to have more control over your time and how much money you make.

This can mean more freedom for yourself or other people who work with you—but only if they also have the structural ability.


If we want to influence others, we must understand what motivates them. That way, we can use our abilities to align ourselves with their desires and needs as much as possible. Then, if they share our goals or feelings about something, they’re more likely to agree with us without even realizing it.