I have come to believe the essence of leadership is simply influence. To be clear, I’m not referring to manipulation. The leader must be authentic to influence others positively and help change behavior.

Recently, in one of my coaching sessions, I discussed influence with my client. She asked me for some examples of how best to gain influence. She wondered if there was a process or a system to follow. I responded that it was not; however, some factors must be present to gain influence. I explained that influence is earned over time. It doesn’t happen overnight; people will follow and buy into your leadership.

I went on to discuss the following factors with her. I have found that the following factors must be present for true, long-lasting influence.

  • TRUST: trust must be built and earned. Trust happens when you do what you say you will do, finish what you start, and show up on time. This is not a heavy lift, showing respect for the other person.
  • ENCOURAG: be an encourager; praise as much as possible, both publicly and privately. Everyone wants to feel encouraged and supported.
  • BE CURIOUS: ask open-ended questions. Seek to understand.
  • LISTEN: I mean, really listen. Be locked in with your eyes, with your heart.
  • EXAMPLE: Be an example of your values.

There are several other factors, for sure. By authentically implementing these factors, your opportunity to influence will be enhanced.