Leadership is influence. The concept is illustrated in many leadership stories. But for the most part, the discussion on influence revolves around the leaders’ character, charisma, persuasion skills, and the ability to use magic words.
Many books were published about leadership as influence. But most of them talk about how to make people follow, not how to make them lead. These authors assume that all change begins and ends with the leader.
What I will show you in this guide is that you can build leaders through influence. You can make things happen, not by manipulation or persuasive words, but by helping others change their behaviors so they can achieve what they want.
You will make people understand that they too can increase their influence and make a difference in their world.
Increasing influence involves few soft skills. When you study one, you are likely to improve in others.
Leaders build leaders. We will increase our influence to help others increase their influence.
And there are easy, effective, and proven ways you can teach others so they can influence themselves to get what they want.
What is Influence?
Influence is the ability to guide and inspire others toward a certain goal or vision. It’s about impacting others in such a way that they willingly and enthusiastically strive to achieve shared objectives.
Influence isn’t about forcing compliance through authority or coercion. Instead, it’s about fostering a sense of trust, respect, and admiration, which encourages others to follow your guidance or emulate your behavior.
Leaders with strong influence skills can effectively communicate their vision, align their team’s efforts, and inspire commitment and action.
It’s worth noting that influence can be both positive and negative.
Positive influence encourages growth, collaboration, and positive change. It is often a deliberate effort.
Negative influence can lead to harmful behaviors or unethical actions. It is often a product of neglect if not selfish interests.
It’s so critical for leaders to use their influence responsibly and ethically, to promote the well-being and success of their team and organization.
Leadership Influence Workshops
Leadership Influence Workshops equip managers and supervisors with the necessary tools and effective strategies to amplify their influence and generate immediate, tangible results.
It is not just training on how to influence people. It is a workshop on how to fix workplace problems and create opportunities using the power of influence.
Get in touch!
Books on Influence
We can learn much from books on how to increase influence. There are books that emphasize the importance of leading by example. They tell us stories of people, most of them popular, who have demonstrated effective use of influence. John Maxwell’s books are in this category.
There are those who give us techniques. With the power of words, we can persuade people and make them do what we want them to do. Cialdini and Berger are in this category.
And there are those who explain to us why and how influence works.
Later, I will share with you one book that I found so simple. I used it as a framework for my leadership workshops that helps leaders “fix” their problems and solve their challenges.
Here are the most popular books on influence.
“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini
This book highlights six key principles of persuasion: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.
The book resonated with readers because it provided a framework for understanding how persuasion works, which is applicable in countless scenarios, from sales to personal interactions.
Leadership trainers often use these principles to teach leaders how to motivate their teams effectively.
“Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade” by Robert Cialdini
It introduces the concept of ‘pre-suasion’, which involves setting up the conditions for successful persuasion.
Readers appreciate the fresh perspective on persuasion, and leadership trainers can use the concept to teach leaders how to create an environment conducive to influence.
This could involve creating trust, establishing authority, or setting positive expectations.
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
The first good book I read on the power of influence. This book provides practical advice on how to interact with others in a positive, influential way.
The book’s enduring popularity lies in its universal applicability.
Leadership trainers often use Carnegie’s principles to teach effective communication, empathy, and building strong relationships. These skills can significantly increase a leader’s influence by fostering positive team dynamics and individual loyalty.
“The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas” by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa
This book provides a clear methodology for pitching ideas effectively, an essential skill for any leader.
The practical, step-by-step approach resonates with readers, and leadership trainers can use the book to teach leaders how to sell their visions and strategies effectively, thereby increasing their influence.
“Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior” by Jonah Berger
I am an avid reader of Jonah Berger. He is like a simplified Cialdini.
This book delves into the subtle influences that shape our decisions. It resonates with readers because it provides a new perspective on influence.
Leadership trainers can use the insights from this book to teach leaders how to subtly motivate and shape their team’s behavior, increasing their influence without appearing overly controlling.
“Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
I use the principles in this book in creating presentation messages.
This book provides insights into why certain ideas ‘stick’ and others don’t, which can be vital for leaders trying to communicate a vision or strategy.
The clear framework (SUCCESs: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Story) resonates with readers and can be used by leadership trainers to teach effective communication skills.
“How to Influence People: Make a Difference in Your World” by John C. Maxwell and Jim Dornan
This book teaches readers how to positively influence others by developing genuine relationships, nurturing people’s potential, and promoting shared victories.
It emphasizes the importance of personal character and leading by example.
The book resonates with readers because of its emphasis on ethical leadership and the power of personal character in influencing others.
Maxwell’s book is often used in leadership training because it provides practical advice for leaders on how to motivate, inspire, and positively influence their teams.
The book also provides a solid foundation for developing the interpersonal skills necessary for effective leadership.
Let’s define some of the words that you will find in this guide and the deep-dive articles on leadership influence.
Authority: The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
Charisma: A personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.
Collaboration: The act of working with someone to produce or create something.
Communication: The imparting or exchanging of information or news; a vital tool in influencing others.
Consensus: General agreement among the members of a group or community.
Delegation: The act of assigning responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific activities.
Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empowerment: The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
Ethics: Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.
Feedback: Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. used as a basis for improvement.
Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.
Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
Leadership: The action of leading a group of people or an organization.
Mentoring: The act of advising or training (especially a younger colleague).
Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
Negotiation: Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
Networking: The action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
Persuasion: The action or fact of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something.
Reciprocity: The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.
Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Responsibility: The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
Self-Efficacy: An individual’s belief in their innate ability to achieve goals.
Stakeholder: A person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business.
Strategy: A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
Teamwork: The combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient.
Trust: Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
Vision: An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future.
Transformational Leadership: A style of leadership where the leader works with the team to identify needed change, create a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and execute the change in tandem with committed members of the group.
Transactional Leadership: A style of leadership that is based on the setting of clear objectives and goals for the followers as well as the use of either punishments or rewards in order to encourage compliance with these goals.