10 Steps to Leadership Influence

Being influential is essential to being successful. Influence is communication and behavioral skill that allows the leader to establish his/her authority into a situation that results in others responding with thought and action. To be an effective leader requires you to be an influencer. If you cannot influence others, your only course of action is to do it yourself (an impossible task) or use command/control tactics that result in robotic actions, inflexible attitudes, a lack of inspiration and creativity and a low-quality outcome.

Part of influence is the skill of asserting your thoughts, opinions, decisions, and direction into the conversation, whether you have the authority or not. Authority comes from position, rank, or universal acknowledgment of a person’s expertise or experience. However, sometimes, leadership is required when these three prerequisites are not in place. We see this most often when a person tries to lead laterally or upward in an organization or group or in establishing leadership in community and volunteer endeavors.

How does one establish influence without authority?

  1. Choose your words wisely. Influencers use robust and active voice in their communications. They use action language designed to empower and enable others to act.
  2. Actively engage in listening, understanding, and drawing out the expert insights of others.
  3. Strategically position yourself in the room. It doesn’t matter if it is a classroom setup or sitting around a table, position yourself in a visible place that also allows you to observe the expressions and body language of other participants.
  4. Speak with passion and conviction. This passion and conviction bring energy to the meeting.
  5. Communicate purpose, setting the tone for expected meeting outcomes.
  6. Identify and categorize the results of the conversation.
  7. Seek the next steps and a follow-up plan to execute on the findings.
  8. Take ownership of some of the outcomes to communicate your commitment to these outcomes.
  9. Continually seek and deliver the win-wins of taking the actions desired
  10. Know how to identify if there are other influencers present that are like-minded and let them share in the role of influencing.
  11.  Influencing others is never easy, even when you have the authority, but being able to control without power is an essential skill, especially for young, aspiring leaders.

Influencing others is never easy, but having the authority to change makes it easier; but being able to control without power is an essential skill, especially for young, aspiring leaders.

About rich@leading2leadership.com

Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on Amazon.com and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at www.leading2leadership.com.


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