When becoming a tech lead or manager, soft skills become the primary lever to increase one’s impact. One of the most crucial skill for developing leadership is the ability to persuade. While valuable at an individual level, this skill can also be cultivated within a team to create a trusting environment that encourages collaboration and facilitates teamwork.

This article delves into the fundamental principles of persuasion and influence, specifically to the context of software development. It provides concrete examples to integrate these persuasion principles into your professional daily life.

The science of persuasion is built on six major principles:


Showing genuine interest in others and discovering common ground helps build an authentic connection. In a remote environement, where interactions tends to be only transactional, creating informal opportunities is challenging but crucial.

Giving positive feedback, as long as it is sincere, is also an effective way to cultivate relationships or improve them. While there is a tendency to focus on the negative, the improvement areas, or exceptional performances, celebrating the act of “just” doing his job correctly is healthy.

As a leader, you have the power to create events that foster connections not only between you and your team members but also among the team members themselves, facilitating exchanges within the team.

Some examples, particularly applicable in a remote setting:

  • Organize “Come as you are” events where team members share non-work-related passions, such as personal projects, technologies explored outside the office, or creative hobbies. This encourages the discovery of commonalities and strengthens team bonds.
  • Virtual coffee: Establish a regular virtual coffee dedicated to informal discussions. This provides a relaxed space to talk about various topics, ranging from personal interests to the latest technological trends, fostering better understanding among team members.
  • On-site meetings and team building: Even when working remotely, consider periodic on-site meetings and team-building activities. These events provide a valuable opportunity for the team to connect in person, reinforcing relationships established online.


We naturally tend to treat others the way they treat us. Whether it’s about trust, teamwork, or kindness, you should always behave as you wish others to do.


  • Recognition of successes: Show appreciation to your collaborators when they achieve significant successes, such as delivering a crucial feature. Organize a lunch, send gifts, or simply express your gratitude in a tangible way that goes beyond a pat on the back, strengthening the sense of accomplishment and value within the team.
  • Inter-team collaboration: Demonstrate reciprocity by assisting other teams in cross-functional projects. By offering your expertise or resources, you foster an environment where success is not only individual but also collective. This attitude reinforces solidarity and creates a culture where mutual assistance is valued.
  • Proactive trust: Default to trusting new collaborators. Give them the opportunity to thrive by showing that you believe in their skills. Reevaluate this trust only if necessary, demonstrating a positive and constructive approach in professional relationships.

Consensus (social proof)

This principle relies on our natural tendency to be influenced by the actions and opinions of those around us. In a professional context, this influence is often more significant when it comes from peers rather than vertical authority figures.


  • Team testimonials: Encourage team members to share their successes and experiences. These testimonials can be presented in team meetings, open feedback sessions for the entire company, or even at public events. Highlighting individual and collective achievements strengthens trust and esteem within the team.
  • Sharing best practices: Facilitate horizontal exchanges by encouraging the sharing of best practices among members of different teams. This can be done through dedicated sessions (if you have guilds for exemple). Showcasing the successes of peers enhances the credibility of adopted approaches.
  • Transparent collaboration: Encourage a culture of transparent collaboration where successes and challenges are openly shared. Teams that communicate transparently about their projects, processes, and results reinforce mutual trust. This transparency contributes to creating positive social proof, demonstrating that accomplishments result from collective effort.

Imagine a developer, Thomas, solving a complex problem using an innovative approach. Encourage Thomas to share his experience during an internal tech exchange, describing the initial challenge, the implemented solution, and the results achieved. This presentation offers tangible social proof of Thomas’s competence and may inspire other team members to explore creative approaches in their projects.

Commitment and Consistency

Have you ever left a meeting where important decisions were made, only to see that nothing happens and the same meeting is repeated the following week? The issue is not necessarily a lack of goodwill. Your colleague who loudly claimed to take the point genuinely meant it. However, if no one publicly committed, there is a risk that each person thinks it’s someone else’s responsibility. A “We will discuss it with X and see who takes the issue” often leads nowhere.

Consistency, in terms of persuasion, relies on public commitment and individual responsibility. It is a powerful principle that increases the likelihood that decisions and commitments will be followed by concrete actions. Studies show that a written commitment significantly increases the chances of it being respected.

However, for it to be effective, the commitment must be freely given. Whether defining a goal or a task to deliver, imposing an engagement against one’s will makes it a burden. Worse, this is likely to lead to the opposite effect.


  • Public commitments on Slack: Establish a practice where team members react to a question on Slack with an emoji, indicating their willingness to investigate or contribute to the answer. This public commitment creates individual accountability.
  • Task assignment on project tracking tools: When a collaborator agrees to a task, ask them to create a card in the project tracking tool (like Jira) or assign themselves if it already exists. This ensures clear traceability of responsibilities and promotes individual commitment to task completion.
  • Clarify post-meeting actions: At the end of a meeting, if actions need to be taken, specify who is responsible for what and write it in a shared document.
  • Contextualization and communication of benefits: When defining goals or tasks, explain the context and reasons behind the request. Highlight the expected benefits so that collaborators understand the importance of their work. This reinforces consistency by aligning individual actions with overall goals.


This principle is based on the fact that some questions are so complex and require such specialized knowledge and experience that those who do not possess them have no choice but to rely on experts. It is generally a powerful principal in IT, but having expertise is not enough to convince. You must also know how to communicate it.

Do not assume that your expertise is obvious to others. Without going as far as to develop a personal branding strategy, do not hesitate to insert, in small doses, an anecdote about a challenging case you encountered in the past, talk about the difficulties you faced in learning something, draw parallels with a similar situation you experienced, etc., as long as it fits naturally into the conversation or enriches it. However, avoid falling into boasting. Opt for humble communication focused on problem-solving. The goal is to demonstrate your expertise authentically without creating distance from your audience.

If you are a junior, you will have to focus developing your technical expertise first. Make sure to participate in complex and innovative projects, continue learning, find a mentor to help you. Technical authority is acquired over time and practice.


It is well known that real or perceived scarcity significantly influences the value we attribute to a subject. This principle is effective when expressing what is at risk if nothing is done. Of course, the proposition and its exclusive aspect must be real. It would be immoral and counterproductive to try to deceive your colleagues.


  • Warn that it is the last week before your vacation to address topic X with you because it will be too late upon your return.
  • Transparently inform about internal mobility opportunities or specific projects that will close soon.
  • Share information that is not widely available and relevant in your context. For example, by providing details about an emerging technology before it becomes widely known, you position the information as rare and valuable.


Taken separately, these principles may seem intuitive. However, applying them in synergy increases their impact. For example, an informal conversation is an opportunity to apply the principles of social proof, authority, and appreciation by sharing information about your expertise, discovering commonalities, and complimenting sincerely.

If you are a junior, introverted, or suffer from imposter syndrome, you may need to do more in-depth work on yourself to apply these principles better. The most common areas of development are trust and self-esteem, openness to others, and interpersonal communication. Do not hesitate to seek the help of a mentor or participate in events on the subject if you don’t know where to start. These resources can offer practical advice and emotional support to overcome obstacles.

Finally, it is essential to note that any instrumentalization of these principles leads to manipulative behaviors, whether conscious or not. False exclusive information: deception. Non-freely given commitment: constraint. Insincere compliment: manipulation, etc. In addition to being morally reprehensible, numerous studies have shown that these behaviors are counterproductive (hello, reciprocity principle) and do not allow for the creation of lasting professional relationships.

In summary, be honest, sincere, and open to others to cultivate your persuasion ability and create a healthy professional exchange environment.

Sources :