Are you an influencer ?

Since this blog is primarily about leadership then we should define what a leader is.  As my mentor Orrin Woodward says,”Leadership is influence.”  Influence means that someone is following you.  John Maxwell says,”If you call yourself a leader and no one is following you then you are just out for a walk.”  So it appears that having influence is key to becoming a leader.  We have all been in the situation where a group is discussing what they want to do or what they should do.  The group hasn’t made a decision yet because they are waiting for a key person to give their input.  That key person is called the influencer.  It may be the person that has the title of leader or it may be someone that doesn’t have the title of leader but none the less the group is always looking for what the main influencer has to say.  That is what we want to discuss.  How do you become the E.F. Hutton?  When you talk everyone is listening.    If you don’t know what that previous statement is referencing then I am really starting to get old. 🙂


Below is the pyramid of influence according to Stephen Covey.  The foundation is built on example, then by relationships and finally by teaching.  This is a great illustration of what it takes to become an influencer and it is a great illustration to remove peoples false ideas about leadership.  Most people believe that being the leader means you are the best at teaching or the best at relationships but that is untrue.  They are key components but the most important thing in leadership is modeling the correct behavior.  This should be a very freeing idea for most of us.  We just have to model the right behaviors long enough that we are elevated to the position of leader.  This is actually the best way to become a leader.  The term is called reluctant leader.  This means you didn’t start out thinking I want to be the leader,  you just did the right things long enough that someone started calling you a leader.




Pyramid of Influence


Example ( other see ) is the foundation and also the hardest because it requires us to change ourselves.  Our human nature would much rather tell people what to do then actually do it ourselves.  That is called managing.  The United States is in a leadership crisis because everyone is so focused on others instead being focused on themselves.  Managing will never create true influence.  They may have a positional or authoritative influence but not leadership influence.  To create true influence we must grow ourselves and create the culture that we want to have.  There is a statement that says,”The leader creates the culture and then the culture grows the group.”    That culture is created by who we are not what we say.  You want to be the example of the culture you want to create.  I would suggest to start reading some of the foundational books on human nature.  How to win friends and influence people, Bringing out the best in people, Attitude is everything, Personality plus, The magic of thinking big, How to have confidence and power in dealing with people, Resolved, Eat that frog, The seven habits of highly effective people.  If the goal is to be the example of the culture you want to create then reading is not a choice it is a must.  Determine what you want the culture of your organization to be and start attacking those items and master them.


Relationships ( how others feel ) is the next layer to build on.  We have to make people feel better then they feel about themselves.  Do you assume the best in others?  I see people create issues that don’t exist because they assume the worst.  Seek first to understand.  Try to see from the others person view and completely understand before we start to make judgments.  Admit your mistakes and cover up other peoples mistakes.  If you even think you have offended someone apologize to them.  If someone in your organization hurt someone else’s feelings, you apologize for it.  Why do this because that person and your relationship with that person is more important then whatever happened.  Follow the three A’s principle.  Accept, approve, appreciate.  The old African proverb says,”Look at a man as he is and he only becomes worse, look at him as he could be and he will become what he should be.”  We have the power to give people the freedom to become better.


Teach ( what others hear )  To me the teaching aspect means something different then what it means to most people.  When I think of teaching I am not thinking of the exact do’s and don’ts.  That is an important piece of the teaching but the science, of what to do, is not as important as the art of what to do.  there is a quote that says something like,”The man that knows what will always be at the mercy of the man that knows why.”  Its not enough to just count on people knowing what to do.  If you only teach people what or count on your system to teach them what then they will always have to come back to you to learn why the what didn’t work.  If you teach them the “why” or the principle behind the “what” then they will always know how to do the “what” correctly.  If your the leader then there is a reason why.  You understand something that the rest of the crowd doesn’t yet.  It doesn’t mean they can’t it just means you need to teach from a different level.

Bill Lewis

21 thoughts on “Are you an influencer ?”

  1. Great article Bill. I think many of us forget that example and relationship play a much larger role in determining how well we are leading than teaching does. We need to work on ourselves in order to have any influence on others.

  2. Bill,
    This is an amazing post. It reminds me of my prior position as a Manager and reaffirms my appreciation for your servant leadership.

  3. Thank you Bill for being an outstanding leader. You definitely know how to teach. You are great at building relationships, and you always lead by example. You have certainly mastered LEADERSHIP. You lead and we will follow.

  4. Thank you for the awesome blog Bill. It is a very well laid out and easy to read an understand blog. I appreciate your ability to break things down into easy to digest terms.

  5. I love the foundation of example. so often we try to move too quickly to just teaching, telling and managing instead of leading by example and then building the relationship!
    You Rock!!!!
    Nancy & Rick Monsipapa

  6. Great stuff Bill!! T?his is so applicable to my current really. I can tell that you are in the hunt Bill, & not in management mode. I appreciate you for that. I have already begun to act on this information & am confident it will be another game changer for me & those Im working with.

  7. Thank you for sharing here in the blogosphere, Bill! You & Jackie are a terrific partnership + exhibit servant leadership in a very pure form. As soon as I saw the title of the post, I looked over at my book shelf, and saw the (as yet unread) book ‘Influencer’ by Patterson, et al. 😀 Blessings!

  8. Bill,

    This is an amazing post. It’s very well put together. I have a short attention span, but was able to follow along easily. This topic (and the way you wrote the article) is very simple, yet can be studied at a much deeper level. Great Job!

    Matt Livermore

    1. Thanks Matt. I am glad to see that you noticed what I was doing. With all of these topics we could go very deep into the psychology of what is going on but I want to keep them short and thought provoking. Hope these articles continue to help you on your journey.

  9. Very good post. I definitely appreciate what you do for all of us. Hopefully once someone see’s it should be servant leadership, they look at it very differently from then on, and make the changes needed. Thanks and keep the great posts coming.

  10. The books that were mentioned in this article are so influential that they have not only changed my life, but also have changed lives around me. My goal is to get more people involved in changing there lives by changing my own.(example)! Thanks Bill.

  11. I’m standing in an extremely long grocery line… thinking I should have brought a book with me….. looking at the magazines close by n in easy reach…. reminded me of the old fast food in the backseat of the car found 2 weeks later… stale n tasteless… then I remembered I could read a blog on my phone…ahhhh…. gourmet!!! 🙂

  12. Bill,
    Such a clear and concise post on leadership. For me, it is a simple litmus test for anyone to see where they are on the leadership scale whether it be at home with their family, at work, in church, etc. Thank you for sharing. Well done.

  13. This Was Excellent. .Thank You Bill Lewis. I’m so blessed From being in Life Leadership. The on Going Learning and Teaching I Learn is Just Awesome. .God Bless You.

  14. Thanks Bill
    Setting an example reminds me of the call to be a servant leader as well. The culture changes when we start with us
    Love the simplicity and organization of your points

  15. “Look at a man as he is and he only becomes worse, look at him as he could be and he will become what he should be.” This really opened my eyes to something I lack at. This is an incredible perspective and aspect in leading people. Thank you for the information to help me move others and myself forward!

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