“The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been” -Henry Kissinger
There are specific traits of leaders that will prove success and strength of a business. One of those specific traits is that of being an influential leader. How influential are you as a leader? Do others listen and hang onto your every word, or do you just listen to what is said and take action based on that?
Many people have written on what it means to be a leader. Almost everyone identifies influence as the primary characteristic. By definition, this means that leadership and position are two different things. You can have a title, and a position of power. Does this mean you are a leader? Even people without these things can exert influence. To be an effective leader, it is necessary to influence others to support and implement decisions that the leader and group members perceive as necessary. Without influence, leadership does not occur.
Influential Leadership” is the ability of a leader to incite action in others simply through mastering the skills of communication and motivation tailored to individuals. A leader of influence is one who will work to remove the obstacles preventing people from performing effectively.
All leaders can get people to achieve, but influential leaders get people to want to achieve. The influential leader focuses on building constructive attitudes and drawing out valuable talents in others. Many leaders simply do not see themselves as a leader, but as a person who is responsible for creating systematic and lasting change.
Here is what influence through leadership is not:
- Being pushy, overbearing or intimidating
- Using bribes to make people do what you want
- Paying for a service in order to get something you want
Effective Leadership + Planned Analysis = Influential Leadership
Since leadership is the ability to influence others, the following are characteristics of influential leadership behaviors. Influential Leaders create followers who want to follow them as oppose to followers who believe they have to follow. Influential Leaders…
- Demonstrate a certain passion that rallies, motivates, inspires and influences others
- Assess risk realistically
- Have an enthusiasm that drives people to accomplish unbelievable things
- Manage their egos
- Produce an energy whereby individuals caught up in their influence take action, bond and connect with others and produce
- Are very good thinkers and analysts
- Value integrity by consistently being honest, forthright, and ethical by doing what they say they will do. They walk their talk. Followers need to be able to trust the leader, and without trust, influence is impossible.
- Tough and driving but with a sense of humor
- Believe in humility by acknowledging that they do not know everything and are open to learn from others.
- Highly value service
- Understand the art of listening and engaging in dialogue. They understand the power of good communication.
- Are aware of their weaknesses and actively find ways to manage them
- Prepared to let others shine
- Ask powerful questions and listen to the responses (even when they do not like them)
- Are realistic about their situation yet determined to succeed
- Practice reflection by taking the time to become fully aware of their own mental processes such as thoughts, feelings, and reactions to various situations.
- Focused on the long-term goals of the organization, rather than short-term gains or wins
- Are not afraid to make decisions that challenge the status quo
- Demands that others think and use their brains to their full potential (They work people hard)
- Prepared to be wrong at times
- Recognize the skill of modeling and the importance of setting an example for others through their own behavior.
- Focus on the end goal
- Practice of self as a barometer to assess what is going on inside themselves and around them in order to respond to their environment. They have figured out what makes themselves tick.
An influential leader’s strength lies in the results created by its practical application. Use your influence in looking at strategies and techniques that identify what is best and most useful to you and your organization in order to achieve your goals. Identify the “keys” to move your organization forward.
You can make the choice to either influence people cohesively or forcefully. Which will get you to keep your employees producing great results, having a low turnover rate, and satisfies your employees to be passionate about what they do?