7 Defining Characteristics of Leadership Influence

Influence leadership is having an impact on the beliefs and actions of the people you are leading. You notice how the people you lead become motivated and committed, and you use what you know to generate positive results. Influence leadership in management is based on two-way trust with the people you lead.

Influence is the capacity to have an impact on the personality, growth, or behavior of something or someone, and it calls for creating a strong emotional bond with both yourself and other people. People who have mastered the art of persuasion are frequently adept at reading people’s emotions and manipulating them. This explains why influence is synonymous with leadership. Every great leader is backed by an army of supporters who work to advance their cause or goal. In fact, leaders like Michelle Obama, Xi Jinping, Jacinda Ardern, and Bob Iger are included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world, rather than athletes, musicians, or philanthropists.

We recently conducted a meta-analysis to answer this question. Our ultimate objective was to learn how historically successful leaders have perfected the art of influence and which forms of influence are still used by effective leaders today. A great place to start was the Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive, a collection of data spanning 200 years and more than 200 nations. From a database of 700,000 books and articles, we searched for those that contained the words “influence” and “leadership” together.

The first strategy, called “transaction,” places an emphasis on real-world interactions between a leader and their followers. By identifying the immediate actions that must be taken, it focuses on improving a current situation. In the second strategy, called transformation, leaders serve as role models and motivators who give followers a sense of direction, excitement, encouragement, a boost in morale, and satisfaction.

How leaders influence people to believe | Michael Dowling | Big Think

Why is leadership influence important?

Leadership influence is significant because it allows you to have an impact on a single person or a large group of people, such as team members at work or an audience of people listening to you speak. Influential leaders can encourage new concepts, tactics, or organizational changes. This style of leadership may assist businesses in achieving their objectives and increase job satisfaction among staff members. Influence can spur workers to put in extra effort to meet company objectives.

What is leadership influence?

Leadership influence is the capacity a person possesses to alter values, attitudes, or beliefs regarding a subject. You can learn it as you develop your leadership abilities. A team or audience can benefit from a leader’s knowledge and speaking skills by providing fresh insight or information. Because of the way they present their information, influential leaders may be able to change their audience’s opinions about a subject.

Someone with leadership potential can discern what motivates people and unleash their inner need for change. If a group of people can trust their leaders, they may be more open to being persuaded. A leader can win the audience’s trust in a variety of ways, such as:

7 characteristics of effective leadership influence

You can apply the following seven qualities of powerful leadership influence in your management:

1. Attitude

The way a person feels and thinks about something or someone manifests in their behavior and is known as their attitude. Positivity can be helpful when you’re influencing others. Your attitude could influence how those around you perceive someone or something. For instance, if you have a positive outlook on implementing a new strategy at work, your team members may share that same outlook and be open to the concept.

2. Value

Value can be either tangible or intangible and can be applied to the audience or team member’s daily lives. It’s beneficial to incorporate your values into your words and actions when you’re influencing others as a leader. Helping your team members complete a task in order to finish a project ahead of schedule will demonstrate your value to others and your ability to work well with others. Alternatively, if a team member needs assistance with their career, you can consult with them one-on-one. Adding value can encourage those who are listening to teach others what they have learned.

3. Listening

You can connect with others more deeply by listening to them. As a leader, you may be more influential if you pay attention to your team members or an audience. By hearing what people want and value, listening to others can help you develop your leadership abilities in those areas. This helps when trying to change people’s perspectives because you can talk about topics or interests they find interesting.

4. Passion

People may be inspired to work toward their personal and professional goals by a passion in life. Showing excitement for an idea can help give others motivation. This may influence them to adopt your suggestion or alter their viewpoint of whatever you are sharing. This is a crucial component of leadership influence because it encourages people to keep growing as individuals and in their careers.

5. Openness

It is crucial for you to exhibit and promote openness as a leader because it enables others to share their ideas with you. You can help each other as you work together. If no one is speaking during a team meeting, it might be helpful to invite others to share their thoughts. This can reassure them that you value their opinions and that they are welcome to share them during the meeting. You can also gain from it by utilizing the team’s expertise to advance the business.

6. Time management

Planning is important in the workplace, but mindfulness training is equally important. When you are fully present in the moment, without considering the past or the future, you are said to be in a state of mindfulness. When a team leader wants to have an impact, they can tell their members to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Productivity may increase if your team concentrates on tasks they can complete in a single working day. They can focus more intently on their work and complete it more quickly and effectively.

7. Knowledge

It can be beneficial for a leader to impart knowledge to their group and make a commitment to lifelong learning. You can achieve this by enrolling in additional training programs the business provides for its employees. By imparting your knowledge, you might encourage your team members to pursue further education or develop new workarounds. If you decide to continue your education in your industry, it could be advantageous for both you and your team. This can demonstrate that you still have room to improve your work performance and industry knowledge.

Benefits of leadership influence

Here are some benefits of leadership influence:

Examples of leadership influence

Here are a few situations in the workplace where leadership influence may manifest itself:

Example 1: Time management influence

When the client moves the deadline for a marketing project your team is working on up by a week, the team is forced to work longer hours that extend into the evenings and weekends. If you work with the team during these hours to meet the deadline, you can demonstrate that you are an influential leader and a member of the team by taking on some of their tasks. Sharing the advantages of completing a project earlier might also inspire them to finish their work.

Example 2: Attitude influence

Your team might find it difficult to stay motivated as the holidays draw near to complete their work. Make use of your position as a leader to inspire them to complete their tasks. Asking them about their struggles and what you can do to help will help you achieve this. Helping your team may involve working on a project with them, reassigning tasks, or outlining a fresh approach they can use.

Example 3: Listening influence

You may encounter situations as a team leader where a team member is not performing up to par in their responsibilities. The team member may not be performing their tasks well or in a timely manner, which slows down the rest of the team’s progress on the project. Setting aside time to speak with them about their behaviors may be beneficial.

To do this, ask them how you can be of assistance. Additionally, it can be beneficial to express your appreciation to them. Tell them the team values them and depends on them to help them finish tasks on time to increase their motivation.


What does influence in leadership mean?

By definition, influence is the capacity to shape other people’s behavior in a specific way through the use of crucial strategies that engage, inspire, and connect with them. Because of this, “influencing others” has been identified as one of the 4 core leadership skills required in every role.

What is leadership and how is influence the answer?

Leadership Is Not Commanding Authority Respect, admiration, and loyalty from customers and staff are earned based on how well a person treats them. An effective leader builds influence by eloquently advocating for and advancing a just cause.

Why is leadership about influence?

Leadership has been described as the ability to influence others. Instead of using coercion to motivate followers, an effective leader cultivates their desire and conviction in the vision and goals articulated by the leader. Misused influence can bring about catastrophic results.

How do you build leadership influence?

Here are 19 actions you can take to increase your leadership influence:
  1. Build trust. Trust is the foundation of great leadership. …
  2. Stay humble. …
  3. Show competence. …
  4. Help others find their voice. …
  5. Provide a chance for small wins. …
  6. Believe in your team members. …
  7. Serve others first. …
  8. Think big for others.

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