Influence is a core pillar of leadership. A leader has to be influential – which to us means: be able to change the hearts and minds of others. In other words, as a leader you need to be able to communicate and interact with others in a way that not only influences them to do things, be in action and create results, but also has them think differently, and leaves them feeling empowered. So one could say influence is about causing another to think, feel and act differently, or in alignment with the results you are looking for. Influence without leaving people feeling empowered is an unsustainable way to be a leader.
A notable trait of top leaders is to lead while building Emotional Equity – this means that top leaders lead while continuing to leave others feeling like they are making deposits into their emotionally positive bank accounts. They are giving, giving, giving, while others are empowered to achieve the results that need to get created. This elevates others, and achieves accelerated results. Leaders elevate others—this is key. We elevate them emotionally so they can achieve more, we elevate them intellectually, so they can see new ways to solve problems and take ownership, and we elevate them positionally—we like team members to envision what their next promotion or two could be and trust that we are helping them get there.
So under the pillar of influence, we will look at things like communication techniques, how we show up to others, our ability to make requests and promises, designing sustainable relationships and agreements, and so forth. Without the ability to influence, there is no leadership.