Good at Influencing others – Leadership by Example

Avoid the title trap, win win, seek advice, partnership, peers, relationships

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.

— Herbert Swope

If the only way to get things done is by using your title or position you have failed to influence and are instead relying on control via command and control. This works for a period of time, but it is unlikely get the best out of people in the medium to long term and will impact the culture in multiply ways.


This skill is key to the success of all leaders. It should be a skill you learn, refresh and grow throughout your career. I read Getting to Yes every couple years. Every culture will impact on how you should do this.

Managing upwards and sidewards

As a leader a strong part of your success will be your relationship with your boss. A great boss will be advocate for you and your team. Be careful in putting your leader on a pestle, they will fail and they will need you to support them. You also need to call them out.

Resourcing Champion

If your team needs more people, you are the person that needs to prove this. It is a fundamental part of your and your teams success. Figure out how to prove your case and when.

Adapt your leadership style to Context

There are multiple leadership styles, the following is adapted from the book ‘The New Leaders’ by Daniel Goleman

  1. Coercive
  2. Authoritative
  3. Affiliative
  4. Democratic
  5. PaceSetting
  6. Coaching

All are below (you may need to widen your screen)

Style Coercive Authoritative Affiliative Democratic PaceSetting Coaching
The leaders MO Demands immediate compliance Mobilizes people towards a vision Creates harmony & builds emotional bonds Forges consensus through participation Sets high standards for performance Develops people for the future
Phrase ‘Do what I tell you’ ‘Come with me’ ‘People come first’ ‘What do you think?’ ‘Do as I do, now.’ ‘Try this’
Impact on culture Negative Most Strongly positive Positive Positive Negative Positive
When style works best In a crisis, to kick start a turnaround or with under performing employees When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed To heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances To build buy-in or consensus or to get input from high performing employees To get quick results from a highly motivated and competent team To help an employee improve performance or develop long term strengths

“People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs.”
― Roger Fisher, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In

Is Influencing bad?

Some times people get confused between Influencing vs politics vs socializing an idea. The reality is sometimes it is a good idea to talk to people about an idea. People will perceive it a certain way based on their relationship with you, if they do not like you (or the idea) or do not know, you they may see it as political and those that like you (or the idea) will see it as socializing or building the case. Be careful, people may perceive you as self promoting, that be more about them (i.e. you are showing them up) rather than what you are trying to do.

Thoughts on Influencing others:

  • Always do it with good intent and honestly
  • Listen to what they are saying to you and really understand it
  • Have a stakeholder map for each project and share it – try not to forget those affected
  • Look for the win win

Resources for Influencing:

Back to the list of traits

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