How To Be An Influential Leader


October 17, 2012

You’re not a leader if no one is following you.

This revelation hit me as I sat in a session on influence at last year’s HRevolution.  I was sitting outside the discussion group as I prepared my thoughts around closing the event when I found my attention drawn to the conversation.  As the group debated various ideas around what it means to be influential, how to gain influence, and what each person could do to create their own call to action, I found myself thinking about influence in the behavioral sense.  Being influential involves some simple behaviors.


  • Being intentional.  Making a real effort to reach out and connect with people.
  • Offering feedback or assistance. Asking the person what you can do for them, each and every conversation, builds trust.
  • Asking someone for their expertise, then sharing that with your network or another individual.
  • Promoting others’ work.  If you have credibility and you share someone else’s work, you not only continue to build your influence, you are building theirs as well.
  • Sharing your perspective. Doing so in a way that brings it to the individual level, but making it scalable to a larger group.

Being influential is granular for me.  It’s about having an individual come to me and say, “You really made me think differently, approach a situation differently, or take an action that I would not have taken.”  Influencing others means that you make an impact on  that person’s life.  Then, you begin multiplying that experience.  The beauty of being influential is that you become a leader regardless if you have the title or not.

What behaviors have I missed that support being  able to influence others?  Share them in the comments.

One Comment

  • Great post Trish. I’ve also found that it helps to listen to people without interrupting or interjecting. It shows that you value their ideas and perspective and builds trust.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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