Leaders Worth Following Know Influence is Power

Leadership is ten wasted letters without influence, because influence is the functional byproduct of leadership. In their classic book on leadership, Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge, authors Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus echo this point: “There is a profound difference between management and leadership.” They wrote, “and both are important. To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct. Leading is influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion.” They add, “an essential factor in leadership is the capacity to influence.” Though leading and managing are two different pieces of the puzzle, leaders and managers who are worth following share common knowledge: they know that influence is power and the key to success.

walkway of airport

The Myth of Management Influence

There are many who put managers and leaders on separate animals on the same carrousel. I don’t believe influence is assigned only to the corner office. Managers also leverage the power of influence. Only a fraction of managerial work can actually be accomplished through command, control and authority. The aim of both managers and leaders is the same: to build relational capital, and then capitalize on the relationship to meet the organization’s vision.

Managers may do this though organization, processes, task assignment, measurements, and the like. This is all maximized through the power of people. People influenced by the 4 C’s of Influence – Character, Chemistry, Competence, and Credibility.

Teams are made up of humans, not androids or automated equipment. They respond best when they are respected as valued beings and are at their best when they have a voice in how the work gets done. When relationship is the focus over the opportunity or transaction, teams will remain loyal and will help to build strength within the overall culture of the organization. This is why the best managers also lead as liberators of empowerment and opportunity for those within their care.

Leaders and managers alike mobilize people around a compelling vision of the future and the building of a bridge to get there. They show team members what is possible and encourage, equip, end empower each employee to make those possibilities real. The best leaders and managers use the apprentice methodology to teach, mentor and invest in the success of others. This is all through the channel of influence, not authority. And…it takes time.

In most cases, leaders and managers are one in the same. The VP of Operations who leads a team of employees to accomplish the unthinkable is also a manager. The manager who provides primary oversight to team performance but also invests in developing others’ technical skill and coaches them in managing through an issue of conflict is also a leader. The art of management and leadership is to know when to act as a manager and when to move out as a leader, when to leverage authority and when to partner to influence, when to ask and when to tell, when to take charge and when to let go. In every case, it is essential for leaders and managers to understand the range of influence techniques that are effective and the patience needed to build relational fortitude with those being served.

Are you interested in building more capacity for leadership influence across your entire organization? We would be happy to partner with you in Becoming Leaders Worth Following. www.giantworldwide.com