The Role of Influence in Leadership

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The Role of Influence in Leadership
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
Influence refers to the power of an individual to impel another person to action by either intangible or indirect means. Therefore it plays an important role in leadership. Kaufman (2011) developed six principles of influence that explain in what way influence plays such an important role in successful leadership. These drivers represents human drivers and needs that make influence powerful.
1. Reciprocation: The first principle refers to the feeling of obligation to do something for a person that has already done something for you. In other words, it is the act of doing something in return.
2. Commitment and Consistency: Consistency is desirable, because people react positively to messages with a high level of consistency. Politicians often make use of this principle by “sticking to the point” even if that particular point becomes foolish.
3. Social Validation: People often observe others’ decisions before making decisions themselves, so as to validate their actions.
4. Liking: People react more positively to people they like because these people often share the same ideas and beliefs. The power of this principle can be seen in the fact that creating a large and good network is nowadays critical in successfully doing business.
5. Authority: Respect for authority influences the reactions of people to the person in authority. Respecting the authority of a certain person that shares information leads people to more emphatically respond to this person.
6. Scarcity: Scarcity makes things more attractive than abundance does. Companies use this fact by selling products and services only up to a certain point in time or in advertising slogans such as “now or never”.
Source: Kaufman, B. (2014) “Leadership Strategies: Build your Sphere of Influence” Business Strategy Series Vol. 12 Iss. 6 pp. 315-320



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