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How To Be an Influential Leader: The Right Way

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Influence is integral to your success as a leader. Building trust, making a positive impact, and directing a team that will follow you anywhere, all increase your influence.

With influence, you can design a better career and life for yourself, and help others do the same. But with great influence comes great responsibility. Therefore, you need to understand what influence is and how it can be wielded, the right way. There are two important points to note in this statement. First, you need to build influence and second, you need to use your influence for good.

Photo Courtesy of Wix Media

If you think about the word influential, descriptors that come to mind include power, impact, control, and shaping. By focusing each day on achieving goals that benefit others, you establish your reputation for driving impressive and profitable outcomes. That’s influence. Purposefully moving forward on these daily goals is appealing. But it’s only when you do so with an authentic and benevolent approach that you’ll attract interest, find new clients and gain followers. Why? Because you’re putting them first. You’re showing them that they matter. You’re building trust and ultimately, influence. But it’s influence that will only last when you lead with humility. With that in mind, here are three arenas in which you can lead with influence.

Career: Career-related success is made easier when you have influence. From finding a job, asking for a promotion, negotiating a raise, to persuading a supervisor to concede to a request, and convincing a CEO to adopt a remote work model. You can influence change of company policy to embrace more work/life balance. When you’ve built your reputation and brand on positive influence, decision makers are more likely to say ‘yes.'

Selling: Selling occurs when you persuade someone to engage with you, buy from you, extend the current contract or expand the terms of an existing relationship. The possibilities are endless when you have influence. It’s interpersonal skills on steroids. When people buy from you, they are buying into who you are. With influence you earn a client’s trust and respect as you lead them through a process that helps them make the best decision. Influencers prioritize win-win agreements, knowing it‘s the only arrangement that leads to a mutually beneficial and sustainable relationship.

Visioning: An exciting vision that is developed meticulously and communicated enthusiastically can light a fire of positivity within an organization. Influence must be applied to leading the vision; imagining it, setting direction, establishing the feel and tone, and molding the culture to execute. Exercising influence requires discipline in communicating the message in the right way to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. Attention needs to be given to the environment, location and mood that best support acceptance of the message. It may include food, color schemes, patterns, brand images, music, and any other tactical or sensory enhancements. A vision isn't just the end result, it's the memorable experience. An influential leader sets the emotional tone when presenting their vision. So, be sure to present your vision and create memories that have lasting impact.

Renwick Brutus' career has spanned roles as research economist, investment advisor, entrepreneur and consultant. He holds an MBA from Fordham University and has been recognized for his outstanding achievement in sales and business leadership. Today, Renwick applies his unique blend of business strategy and interpersonal skills to help individuals prosper and companies grow. He owns multiple companies and is in great demand to consult with business leaders. Contact him through email or LinkedIn .

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