Leadership is about Influence!

What separates a good leader from a great leader is their level of Influence on people.

In this article I would like to share some insights on the following:

  • What is Influence?
  • What are the stages of Influence and their impact?

What is Influence?
The definition states that it is the capacity to have an effect on the character and behaviour of a person or a team, merriam-webster.com. Everyone has influence. The only question, is it positive or negative.

“If your life in anyway connects with other people then you are an Influencer.”– Jim Dornan

“An amusing story about the impact of influence comes from the administration of President Calvin Coolidge. An overnight guest at the White House was having breakfast with Coolidge one morning, and he wanted to make a good impression on the president. He noticed that Coolidge, having been served coffee, took the coffee cup, poured some of its contents into a deep saucer, and leisurely added a little bit of sugar and cream.

Not wanting to breach any rules of etiquette, the visitor followed the commander in chief’s lead, and he poured some of his coffee into his saucer and added sugar and cream. Then he waited for the president’s next move. He was horrified to see him place the saucer on the floor of the cat”. Extract from ‘Becoming the Person of Influence’, Jim Dornan.

“Influence is Powerful”

The stages of influence and their Impact

According to author Jim Dornan there are four stages of influence and each stage has a different level of impact.

Stage 1: Modelling

In the modelling stage, as a leader you influence people by what you do and by what you see. If your team sees you as positive, trustworthy with admirable qualities, then they will seek you as an influencer in their lives. When your team gets to know you better as their leader then your credibility increases and so does your level of influence.

As part of my learning journey I have always travelled to different countries and marketing companies. I have met people whom I didn’t know at first. Sometimes I was introduced to leaders by people I trust and I temporarily borrowed their Influence about a leader. As I have some time to observe that leader then either I build or bust that influence through their actions.

“You can be a model to the masses, but to go the higher levels of influence, you have to work with individuals.”– Jim Dornan

Stage 2: Motivating

As a leader you become a motivational influencer when you encourage people and communicate with them on an emotional level. In this process two things happen:

  1. It creates a bridge between you and them
  2. It builds confidence and a sense of self-worth

When your team feels good about you and themselves during the times they are with you, then your level of influence increases significantly.

Stage 3: Mentoring

As a motivational influencer you have a higher impact on your team and when you are a mentoring influencer then your impact becomes long lasting.

Mentoring means genuinely helming your team to reach their potential. The power of mentoring is so strong that you can actually see the lives of the persons you are influencing change before your eyes. Mentoring your team during challenging times can have a big impact. You are there guiding them through those challenges and showing them how to grow personally and professionally. Mentoring is a very powerful way of influencing your team.

Stage 4: Multiplying

As a multiplying influencer, you help people you are influencing to become positive influencers in the lives of others and pass on not only what they have received from you but also what they have learned on their own.

It is not easy to achieve this stage of influence. From my own experience, I have seen a lot of leaders achieve and apply stage one and stage two and some have reached stage three but only very few people have reached this multiplying stage.

To reach this stage of influence as a leader – you need to be selfless, generous and committed. Most importantly, this all takes time. A leader needs to give more individual attention to team members.

In conclusion, every day we are all wearing different hats. At home we are husband or wife; mother or father; sister or brother; son or daughter and at work we are leader or follower at times. And the bottom line is no matter who we are, we are influencing people around us. We are Influencers!

The source for some key points in this blog post are taken from Jim Dornan’s book “Becoming the person of Influence”.

Vishnu Annapareddy, Centurion Organisation is a strategic partner to Appco Group Asia. Centurion Organisation is a marketing company that works with teams of self-employed independent contractors who conduct face-to-face sales and fundraising, representing Appco’s clients in Malaysia and The Philippines.

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