How Great Leaders Are Able to Influence People

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By: Matshona Dhliwayo

The simplest definition of leadership is influence.  There can be no leadership without it, for in order for anyone to follow, he or she must be influenced, one way or another.

This has been proven all throughout history.  From Alexander the Great and Confucius to Martin Luther King Jr., the one thing they shared in common was their influence over large numbers of people.  The greatest leaders have always been the greatest influencers.

This is why it is necessary to understand how great leaders are able to influence a great number of people.

Below are eight points:

  1. They inspire. Whoever you inspire, you influence, and great leaders inspire countless, thereby winning over millions.  We are drawn to those who encourage us, and repelled by those who discourage us; great leaders understand this and, therefore, master the art of capturing minds, moving hearts, and winning souls.
  2. They win the trust of other people. By their words, charm, and deeds, they are able to win your confidence.  Trust is crucial.  Without it, no one can surrender to you completely, for if someone trusts you with all of his mind, he is partially yours; if someone trusts you with all of his heart, he is reasonably yours; and if someone trusts you with all of his soul, he is completely yours.
  3. They study their followers. They examine them and so understand them.  They address their wants and needs.  We all like someone who listens to us and makes us feel like he cares.
  4. They believe in themselves. People follow people who believe in themselves, not people who doubt their capabilities.  Those who doubt themselves indirectly remind us of our limitations, but those who believe in themselves confirm to us that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
  5. They are inclusive. No matter who you are, you feel like you can approach them.  Even if you disagree with them, they embrace you.
  6. Body language. This includes eye contact, gestures to articulate their messages, touches to put you at ease, smiles to make you comfortable, and tone of voice.
  7. They prove themselves. They produce results.  They deliver.  They are driven to excellence.  Because of this, their subordinates are willing to follow them anywhere, even to hell and back.
  8. They make promises and deliver. Whether they make you a big promise or a small one, they fulfill it.  If uncertain, they don’t promise you anything, and if certain, they do―but cautiously.  Their integrity points to their reliability, and this inspires confidence.
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