Leadership is defined as influence. We lead as we influence others in their thoughts or actions.
There are other definitions used to describe leadership but these are all either means to establish influence or the result of influence. Relationships are developed as a means to influence. Translating vision into reality is the result of influence.
“Influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something. If someone influences someone else, they are changing a person or thing in an indirect but important way.” – from Vocabulary.com
There are other ways to cause action by another person. People can be coerced, pushed, or pulled by someone that holds some power over them. Therefore we should add to the above definition that true influence is a right or permission earned by the influencer and given by the influencee.
As leaders we are given the right to influence when we demonstrate strong, positive character, especially such traits as integrity, trustworthiness, transparency, humility, etc. People accept influence from those leaders who understand them, affirm them, and respect them. Relationship building is key to opening a channel for influence. Influence also requires clear communication and shared values.
What are you doing to improve your ability to influence?