“The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been.” Henry Kissinger
You were just named leader in your organization. As the person with expertise that can benefit the company, how can you get others to see your perspective and get them to realize your influence as a leader? How important is it that you develop the traits of a significant influential leader? There are many instances in any business organization, when just one person can make a significant difference to the level of success that their company achieves.
Specific qualities or characteristics stand out the most when viewing influential people. First and foremost are people who have the most influence display a high degree of integrity. (Below is a listing of the qualities or characteristics of being an influential leader.)
Influence is when you effectively alter someone else’s perceptions, views, beliefs, attitudes, and decisions thus altering their actions. The expert influencer understands people, how they think, what makes them tick and how to get on the same wavelength.
There are many approaches a leader can take, and to some degree or another they will produce the results you want. Without influence, the leader cannot get things done. What kind of influencer are you?
Leadership has traditionally been defined as getting people to follow your vision. Today’s leaders must frequently lead through influence- a more subtle yet powerful approach to getting things done. A leader of influence is one who will work to remove obstacles that prevent people from performing effectively, and open the door to creating a trusting and rewarding environment where their people are willing to go the extra mile.
The leader becomes the conduit of ideas being implemented as many of their ideas, innovations and creativity from their employees. These same leaders are recognized by the decisive actions they have taken and the results they have achieved. They inspire their company by having the innovative ideas that will create dramatic changes to the success of their business.
Your credibility is a key to achieving greater influence. It is not enough to be an expert on a subject matter. You must also be perceived as an expert. That perception comes from how you carry yourself and interact with others on the subject and in every other way as well. Credibility is a combination of expertise and trustworthiness.
If you influence people for your own gain, that will be seen as manipulation. Positive influence can only take place when it presents clear benefits to everyone involved.
People who are good Influential Leaders:
• Are very good thinkers and analysts
• Ask powerful questions, make informed decisions and influence outcomes
• Empower others with some decision making and accepting accountability
• They listen carefully to other’s ideas and points of view before deciding to respond.
• Are people who display a high degree of integrity
• Focus on long term goals of the organization instead of short term gains or wins
• Focus on the end goal and know there are many different ways to get there
• Manage their egos
• Are aware of their weaknesses and actively finds ways to manage them
• Are not afraid to make decisions that challenge the status-quo
• Let others shine
• Assesses risk realistically
• Are Tough
• Demand that others think and use their brains to their full potential
The influential leader works to develop the people –centered skills that are decisive in bringing out the best that others have to offer. Define your vision, goals and how you “paint the picture” while undergoing change is one way that makes you an influential leader. Engage your employees by communicating how their abilities are envisioned within the entire organization for its success.
“Influential Leaders do not control people with bureaucratic systems and
Procedures, they free them up to create and innovate thereby maximizing
Their contribution to the organization.”- David McNally
Gaining influence over people is essential to your success as a leader. How do you define yourself as an influential leader? As an influential leader, or becoming one, how are you going to close the gap with what you do not have to be influential?
All leaders can get people to achieve, but influential leaders get people to want to achieve. By understanding how, they can cultivate an environment that is collaborative, trusting, open and sharing. It is only these leaders who will motivate, inspire and encourage wholehearted engagement.
Remember, Influential Leadership is not a one size fits all approach. Everyone has their own unique way about them that gives them an influence. It just depends on how you use what skills you possess.
“There are 3 types of leaders: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who wonder what happened.” – Anonymous
Which one are you?