How Can You Leverage Your Influence as a Leader?

The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.

– John Maxwell

One day a farmer grabbed his shotgun to shoot at a flock of pesky crows. Unfortunately, he didn’t see his sociable parrot that had joined the crows. After firing a few shots, he walked over to the fallen birds and was surprised to find his parrot badly ruffled with a broken wing. When the farmer’s children saw the injured bird, they asked, “Dad, what happened?” The farmer simply replied, “Bad company.”

That story is a reminder of what can happen when you don’t leverage your influence as a leader in the right way. You can get caught up in the wrong crowd and consequently, it can be hard to distinguish you from the crows.

It’s no secret that employee morale and productivity are interconnected. As goes one, so goes the other. As one who is invested in both, how you leverage your influence as a leader is critical. If you are not taking the lead in this area then someone else is. How do you feel about that?

I’d like to share a few insights as it relates to leveraging your influence. As you become intentional about this it can make a world of difference to your organization.  Here are five ways you can do it.

Leverage your influence through relationships

You sway the crowd one person at a time. All smart leaders know that the surest way to gain influence in the lives of your people is to build relationships with them. When your people know you and where you are taking them they will be more inclined to go on that journey with you. But not until then.

Leverage your influence with trust

Out of relationships comes trust. Your people will not entrust you with their hopes and dreams for a better future until they can trust you as a leader to get them there. Your influence begins with relationships and trust. Until these two are established your influence is nominal at best.

Leverage your influence by your actions

Your people may like you as a person and they may trust you with their children, but at the end of the day, your actions speak louder than your words. Your influence as a leader is measured by how you model it. If you are not living what you communicate then your influence will be diminished. Influence is lived, not spoken.

Leverage your influence by asking for theirs

One of the ways you can build your influence with your teams is by asking for theirs. By this I mean, people buy into what they help create. The success of your organization should not be limited to just the reach of your influence. It should be attached to the influence of everyone in it. It’s not about what you can build by yourself, but what everyone can build together. If you want to leverage your influence as a leader do it by empowering everyone with theirs.

Leverage your influence by growing more leaders

It’s been said that leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders. Multiplication is the math of leadership. Think of how different your influence would be if there were five, ten, fifteen or twenty more leaders joining forces with you in exercising their influence within your organization? What do you think that would do for morale? How much more could you accomplish? What do you think that would do for your bottom line?

Leveraging your influence as a leader is about recognizing that you have to build relationships, earn the trust of your people, lead by example, and realize that the power of your influence is found as you empower others.

Are you ready to leverage your influence?


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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  1. Influence is the main quality for a leader. It is about knowing how to affect other people’s lives, obviously in a positive sense. The charisma is nothing other than the ability to exercise one’s influence over others. The influence allows the leader to share his ideas, to arouse in others, in addition to his own will, also feelings and emotions that are the push to carry out the projects. The emotional aspect must have the utmost importance in the eyes of the leader, who must know how to influence and manage this fundamental variable.
    Obviously, the influence is not exercised only in words or with large advertising messages, with slogans or high-sounding events, the influence is something we do every day, it is our actions, even those that are undervalued or considered trivial: these are the things we “do “Which influence others.
    I translate this concept simply with two terms: always being present and human.