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A Leader's Influence Should Always Be Others Oriented

 “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”
John C. Maxwell


I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “adding value to people,” which John Maxwell emphasizes in his talks and writing. Being a positive influence on others is the only way you and I will ever add value to people.


A Merriam-Webster dictionary entry for Influence states,

a) The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.

b) The act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force

     or direct exercise of command.                                                                  


The most important thing to understand about influence is that it’s never about us. Influence is only productive when others are exposed to the positive aspects of it, as it emanates from within us. Beyond giving orders, positive influencers equip their people to make crucial decisions independently.

A Great Leaders’ Positive influence,

  • Is relationally transmitted and maintained

  • Secures the best from others voluntarily, not as a response to authority

  • Shares the credit for success and takes responsibility for failures

  • Inspires and encourages personal development from team members

Positive influencers are uplifting, inspiring, persuasive, and supportive. How often have you heard it said, “People need to know how much you care before they’ll care how much you know?”

Great Leaders are Positive Influencers

Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis writes, “Great leaders are the most memorable.  They go about their day leveraging their distinction by leading in ways that come most naturally to them.  They are remembered and admired because they have their own unique style and approach that supports innovation and initiative and are known for making the workplace culture stronger, more unified, and collaborative.  The most memorable leaders always set the right tone.  Their presence and charisma are in service to others, and they go out of their way to make their employees feel secure.  They embrace two-way communication and are active listeners. (1) 

3 Tactics for Influencing Others

“We’ve found that influencing tactics fall into 3 categories: logical, emotional, or cooperative appeals. In other words, using the head, heart, or hands to influence people:

Logical Appeals (Head): Tap into people’s rational and intellectual positions. You present an argument for the best choice of action based on organizational benefits, personal benefits, or both, to appeal to people’s minds.

Emotional Appeals (Heart): Connect your message, goal, or project to individual goals and values. An idea that promotes a person’s feelings of well-being, service, or sense of belonging tugs at the heartstrings and has a good chance of gaining support.

Cooperative Appeals (Hands): Involve collaboration, consultation, and alliances. Working together to accomplish a mutually important goal extends a hand to others in the organization and is an extremely effective way to influence people. Leaders who effectively use these tactics to influence people can achieve their goals and objectives more successfully than leaders who lack that ability, regardless of where they sit in an organization.” (2)

In Closing, Great leaders are respected primarily because they desire to allow others to shine. Seth Godin says it best, “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.”

End Notes

(1) Forbes “8 Qualities That Make Leaders Memorable”

(2) Center for Creative Leadership “3 Tactics for Influencing Others” 

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***


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