Being an Influential Leader

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Influence is a part of leadership because leaders lead by influencing. Being a leader involves having a great vision of the future and the ability to achieve it. Leaders have an ability of influencing people towards achieving their business or personal objectives. Leaders have the power of energizing their followers in ways that accomplish their dreams, provide a sense of purpose, and give them a sense of triumph when the work is complete. Influence process of leadership helps to model ways of thinking, looking, and acting towards professional and personal life.

Influence Processes

Influence process is directly connected to leadership which most specialists say that “leadership is influence”. Usually, people associate these two processes in how leaders can delegate tasks to their subordinates which most of these activities, leaders do not have interest to do. The influence of leaders can have some form of persuasion; however, the influence must be more inspirational than intimidation or coercion. As an influence process, leadership can show ways people following their example or advocating better ways.

Role of Influence

When people think which ones the considerations for are being an influential leader, it should consider three common qualities: honesty, respect and an obligation to promoting positivity.

  • Honesty is an essential quality for building influence. Honest leaders are transparent to their subordinates regarding to their decisions, what company values are and provide tools to be well-succeed. Sure, that the culture of the company is responsible for building and administrating this behavior.
  • Respect is like a currency: in order to earn, you have to spend. Being respectful is the true way to be respected. For leaders, listen other without interruption is an effective skill for making individuals feel respected. What it can cause a barrier to mutual respect is a lack of communications, where leaders and subordinates could cause in misunderstandings.
  • Promoting Positivity is a crucial process in a well-succeed workplace. A positive workplace brings great benefits for everybody involved: the organization, the employees and sure the financial outcomes. Leaders have the task of achieving, promoting and maintaining a culture of positivity in the work environment. One of the most important points for a positive environment is treating employees like human being and not as some billable resources.

Types of Influence Processes

There are six main types of influence process for leadership: charisma, legitimacy, rewards, expertise relationships, and empowering.

  • Charisma is the most powerful tools used by leaders in influencing their followers. For an organization, a charismatic leader creates an innovative and ambitious vision where he or she communicates to employees using a powerful dialogues and behaviors that makes them special. Also, charismatic leaders are very prudent to the needs of employees, which it helps to create a better mutual relationship in their work environment.
  • Legitimacy is present in the leader’s position in all aspects. Be legitimate is being humble, effective and respectful. Legitimate requests must be friendly and never use arrogance to address people.
  • Rewards can be used as an influence process which it involves offering something in return. It does not need to be cash or expensive products. Effectiveness awards can be in a form of awards or public recognition. For this reason, it must be clear to employees that rewards are related to their behavior.
  • Expertise is a rational way that leaders can use for influencing people using their knowledge, skills or special abilities. Leaders use expertise to support their logical arguments and ideas to present a plan of action for the organization.
  • Relationships are sources that help to increase the power and influence for leaders. Be a friend and meet the right people help to cultivate the influential power.
  • Empowering cannot be hoarded by the leaders. It must be something that leaders need to teach their followers how to use the power in an influence process. Empowering means increasing and leveraging leadership effectiveness.


People think that wealth, money and social position are life’s essential, however, there is more to life than these characteristics. All these do not offer a durable purpose of life. People need to feel life in its total fullness and also feel they are connected to the different dimensions. Sacrifice makes this connection, and who is charged for this connection is a leader. Leaders like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama were responsible for inspiring and influencing many individuals and other leaders around the world.

Influence Process Analysis

Influence is described as the power that one person has by inducing a change in the target audience. This changing, which is a necessary ingredient for leadership, can influence people’s behavior, opinions, goals, needs, attitude and values. Without influence, leadership is an empty process. For this reason, the influence must have an impact on the follower’s life. The influence process may vary according to the demands of the circumstances. In addition, leaders use the influence processes to shape organizational variables, including people and resources such as decisions-making (able to influence the choices of followers), rewards (offer prizes based on behavioral ethics and achieve goals necessary for meeting the organization’s mission), allocation of resources (the influence over several organizational resources such as capital human, financial and technological resources) , role modeling (leaders must act as a role model to mold the behavior and belief of the followers) and internal promotion (meet organizational and individuals goals and objectives).

Influence Processes Used

Which are the influence processes used by Obama and Mandela? Both are well-known for being an inspiring and motivational person with their speech, charm, personality and strength.

Obama used his influence firstly towards voters. Then, he used towards members of Congress, foreign leaders, and business leaders. For each of these groups, Obama knew how to approach and change his tactic depending on the situation. When Obama ran for the re-election, he used again, his influential power to the voters. Obama has a great credibility, policies and politics skills, and also other qualities such as charm, humility, and sense of presence. For this reason, Obama knew how to use these skills in his public arena.

Nelson Mandela has inspired many people around the world, especially for his difficult period of his life where he stayed on a prison cell. Mandela also used his influential power to approach his audience, including Obama said that Mandela was his inspiration. For African people, Mandela represented the equality and he influenced their lives with his passion, patience and leadership.

In comparison with Obama and Mandela influence process, both have similar characteristics like transparency, compassion and awareness.

  • Transparency: great leaders like Obama and Mandela has a great reputation for being transparent. They shared their passion, strategic decisions and beliefs to support their followers. This transparency has inspired many other well-succeed leaders around the world.
  • Compassion: Mandela and Obama had compassion in abundance as leaders. Leaders like both have a compassion for people and their personal situations in general, not only as professional ones. When a leader demonstrates understanding and compassion for the people, they understand easily that this leader is interested and concerned about them. They do not see that the leader is selfish or aloof, in fact, the compassion spread out in any kind of environment.
  • Awareness: a high level of self-awareness is a great quality that most of successful leaders have. As a leader, Mandela and Obama had a comprehension of themselves, and how their actions and behaviors directly impact their followers. Both had a great consciousness by way of being, their peaceful, their patience, their humored, their confidence, and these great skills helped to increase their credibility and the positive impact towards society. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, it is a best way to learn and grow as leaders.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Obama Strengths

Some qualities that made Obama a strong leader: empathy, patience, intelligence, humility, problem solving skills, intuitive visionary approach, pragmatism and communication skills. These skills not only inspired people, but it also helped to bolster the USA economy after a turbulent period of recession. Their patience helped to solve many problems in the USA, also he avoided many other which most people do not know.

Obama Weaknesses

As a leader, Obama was introverted which it affected indirectly him for being an effective persuader at the beginning of his presidency. He also has not had some organizational, managerial and governmental experience. This explains why he took so long for making decisions such as filling governmental openings or priority on the nominees of the Senate.

Mandela Strengths

Nelson Mandela had a strong relationship with people and the media, which this made one of his greatest strengths. His faith and perseverance, after living 27 years in prison, became a symbol of his image and an inspiration to many other leaders. Also, Mandela left in prison without hate and sense of vengeance. Instead, his extraordinary personality has motivated to fix the problems in South Africa with justice and rewarded his enemies with love. Mandela has proved to the World how people can be civilized and not driving with hateful.

Mandela Weaknesses

As it was described, Mandela has great strengths, however, he also had some weaknesses. Probably, the most noticed on was his personality change between being impulsive and impatient. This ‘bipolar’ behavior could be caused by his turbulent youth and relationship with women. However, Mandela recognized his weaknesses and he kept focused on his strengths to overcome some adversities in his life.

Summary of Key Influence Process Attributes

To be an influential leader, he or she must have some great skills: charisma is one the most powerful tool that helps to motivate people and develop a better relationship; being legitimate that boosts respect, effective and humble; give rewards for recognizing people’s efforts; strong expertise that helps to support leader’s ideas and arguments; build extraordinary relationships; and empowering followers. All these characteristics are essential for influencing people in a positive way.


Being a leader, especially well-known worldwide like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, has a great responsibility in influencing people’s life. Great leaders show their passion, their charisma and their expertise to solve any issue within a right way. As a human being, influential leaders also have their weaknesses, however, they focus on their strengths as a powerful tool to maintain levelheaded. Leaders impact the way of people thinking and acting, and this influence helps to make the World a better to live.


Cite this paper

Being an Influential Leader. (2021, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/being-an-influential-leader/

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