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  • Writer's pictureUlrika Gustafson PCC LL.M

Mastering Leadership: The Art of Positive Influence



In the realm of effective leadership, the ability to influence others is a hallmark of exceptional leaders. Mastering the art of influence is not about manipulation but rather about inspiring and guiding teams toward shared goals. Here, we explore the key facets of influencing as a leader.


1. Building Trust as the Foundation


Trust is the bedrock upon which successful influence is built. Leaders must consistently demonstrate integrity, transparency, and reliability to earn the trust of their teams. When team members believe in the leader's intentions and character, they become more receptive to influence.



2. Authenticity in Communication


Authenticity is a powerful tool for leaders seeking to influence positively. Communicate with sincerity, aligning words with actions. Authentic leaders resonate with their teams, creating a connection that fosters a willingness to follow and be influenced.


"The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority." – Ken Blanchard

3. Emotional Intelligence in Action


Understanding and managing emotions, both one's own and those of others, is a hallmark of emotionally intelligent leaders. By empathizing with team members, leaders can tailor their influence strategies to resonate with individual needs, motivations, and concerns.


4. Leading by Example


Leaders who exemplify the values and behaviors they expect from their teams naturally wield influence. Actions speak louder than words, and when leaders embody the qualities they advocate, they inspire others to follow suit.


5. Effective Communication Strategies


Clear and compelling communication is central to effective influence. Leaders should master the art of articulating a vision, providing clear directives, and inspiring action. Tailoring communication styles to different audiences enhances the leader's ability to connect and influence across diverse teams.


6. Building Coalitions and Collaborative Influence


In complex organizational structures, collaborative influence becomes paramount. Leaders adept at building coalitions and fostering collaboration across departments or teams demonstrate influence on a broader scale, aligning collective efforts toward overarching objectives.


7. Adapting to Change and Resilience


Influence in leadership extends to navigating change. Resilient leaders who adapt positively to evolving circumstances and effectively communicate the benefits of change can influence their teams to embrace transformation rather than resist it.

Influence, when wielded responsibly and authentically, is a powerful tool in a leader's arsenal. By prioritizing trust, authenticity, emotional intelligence, leading by example, mastering communication, collaborating effectively, and embracing resilience, leaders can elevate their ability to positively influence those they lead. In doing so, they contribute not only to the success of their teams but also to the broader success of the organization as a whole.



Ulrika Gustafson LL.M PCC is a partner of HAMILTON THERRELL Executive Advisors, an international advisory group of experts in leadership and organizational transformation. She advises CEOs and coaches senior executives on succeeding in demanding environments.

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