Effective Leaders Are Influencers
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

We all have our favorite leaders. They demonstrate they have influence well beyond their official positions. They are persuasive and get things done. We know them for their ability to address challenging outcomes demanded by everyone. We love them for this reason.

How do they do this? Why do they have so much influence, and how do they gain it? They demonstrate the fine art of influence. Influence is not about controlling or commanding someone to do something. Influencers use inspiration, persuasion, and deep trust to advance a cause or outcome. It is extraordinary to witness great influencers among us.

One of the most overlooked aspects of successful leaders is how they use their ability to influence others. They are great listeners who learn quickly and can assess the landscape before saying a word. They seek to be influenced before they attempt to influence another person. Their keen ability to absorb what others are feeling and saying allows them to be effective. They are outstanding at building relationships and trust.

Time and time again, I have witnessed individuals use this approach to build understanding and trust. In doing so, they wield meaningful influence over decisions. This pattern is clear to me, and I now see why it works in nearly all situations. Influencers know well that they must build trust through their interaction to have any chance of advancing their ideas. They must understand other people and what others are trying to accomplish. They incorporate key insights and the needs of others so they can bring individuals into a trusting coalition of supporters. Building consensus towards a solution is mostly about how people are listened to and respected. Then, specific ideas can be advanced. Better ideas and significant commitment are essential elements of an influencer’s approach.

As you reflect on those individuals who influence your life, what attributes do they demonstrate? How do they listen and speak? What can you learn from the approach they take to leadership and life?

To be a person of influence means being open to being influenced by others. We can learn so much from those who use positive methods to influence others. I am convinced that influence is much more valuable than power in today’s complicated and fast-moving world.