Choose To Become A Leader Of Influence

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“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”. 


I believe one of my former school mates had missed this quote by Ken Blanchard when he was so insistent that I should hire him in the company I worked for because I am the boss. He was so convinced that because I am a “manager”; then I have an open check book to every decision. 

I also hope I did not give him the wrong impression! I had to explain in vain I must say; that leadership does not work that way. 

Sadly, there are leaders in many organizations who believe that their positions give them a birth-right to throw their weight around. They rely more on their positions, telling and coercing employees to do what is in their self-interest. Others rely on manipulation instead of influence.  

Power based leadership is short-sighted. I was once exposed to a leader who was domineering to a point of telling the team what to include in presentations, even how to say it.  He wanted to see word for word his input before you could go to clients. For me, that was stifling and disempowering. He might have missed a crucial lesson from Steve Jobs when he said that “it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”

When I look at my leadership journey, I realize that the people that had an impact on me were human beings before they could be leaders. They did not do much out of the ordinary except the following: 

Credibility: You have no choice but to trust and believe in what they say because they follow through on their promises. One such leader for me was Bonang Mohale during his times at Shell South Africa. He paid no lip service to transformation and people development. He espoused his vision and lived it by giving opportunities to others when most shied away from crucial conversations.  

Engender respect: Leaders with influence respect their team members irrespective of pressure and tough times. Don’t get me wrong, they still expect results, the difference is how they go about it. They do not use profane language nor belittle others. They communicate trust and belief in your abilities while providing tools and resources to be able to deliver. They make it no secret that they value you as a team member. 

Create collective victories: The influential leader never shines in the limelight at the expense of the team. Such a leader knows that he or she get results through others and not on their own. They nurture collaboration, encourage ownership and cement collaboration by celebrating victories with their teams.

Leadership is about influence and not manipulation. By remaining credible, engendering respect and creating collective victories, leaders are able to inspire and motivate others behind their vision.

Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organisational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit

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