Being considered a leader can be a wonderful privilege, but it also comes with a certain level of responsibility.
We admire great leaders, whether that’s in business, in sports, in our communities or in our personal lives. They possess certain qualities that average or poor leaders don’t have.
Those qualities create a magnetic appeal and results in others readily following their lead and being influenced by them to achieve positive outcomes.
So what are those things powerful leaders have that make them more influential, appealing and persuasive?
If we look back through the history of the world, we’ve had many powerful and influential leaders. One leader I have always admired was Mahatma Ghandi, who led India to Independence from British rule in the 1940s.
When we consider that period of time, there was no internet, no social media, no emails, yet Ghandi was able to influence hundreds of millions of people to have a common objective — a nation free to live how they wanted to and be able to govern themselves.
What’s even more remarkable was that Ghandi could influence people to stand up for their rights peacefully, without resorting to violence, a far cry from what we see in some parts of the world today.
5 Things Influential Leaders Do Better Than Poor Leaders
Using Ghandi as an example, here are five things influential leaders do better than average or poor leaders. Anyone in a leadership capacity can easily apply these things to empower others to be and do the best they can.
- They stayed focused on the big picture. Despite the atrocities suffered by Indian people during British rule, Ghandi had one agenda — for his nation to be independent and free to govern themselves. That was his burning desire. He directed all his actions towards achieving that objective. Influential leaders can paint a more compelling future for others to buy into and act accordingly.
- They communicate exceptionally well. Ghandi had an advantage in that he was well educated and was a qualified lawyer. As a result, he spoke extremely well and was able to touch the hearts and minds of Indian people during rallies and gatherings. Leaders who are influential know that being able to communicate well is a critical skill to have so they continually work on improving that skill.
- They connect well with others. Influential leaders have a certain charismatic appeal. They attract the right people and can uplift or elevate others to a new level of performance. Ghandi’s appeal was that he was a simple man, with very few possessions. The way he lived his life made him more trustful and relatable to the Indian population, who were willing to follow his lead and even sacrifice their lives for a greater purpose.
- They find the positive in all situations. The odds of beating the mighty British Empire in the early 1900s was extremely slim as Indian people did not have access to resources that the British did. Influential leaders know it is never about the resources, but it’s always about being resourceful. Ghandi was able to make the best of all situations no matter how challenging they were. As a result, he created a movement that’s still talked about to this day.
- They are prepared as best as they can be. Great leaders know they will never know everything. Instead of only taking action when he believed he was “ready,” Ghandi did the best he could at all times. Sure, he made mistakes along the way but because he was flexible and adaptable, he could adjust his actions quickly, while staying focused on the big picture. Great leaders anticipate better than average leaders, so they have more influence with others.
Our ability to influence others always starts with ourselves. The better we can lead ourselves, the better we’ll lead and influence others. The things listed above are not difficult to apply, but they require a certain level of commitment and discipline. If we follow through on them, we will become a better, more influential leader.
Action Step: Rate yourself as a leader. Ask people you either lead or work with to give your feedback on how they see you as a leader. From their feedback, focus on how you can apply the things mentioned above to become a more influential leader.
Question: What is another thing influential leaders do better than average leaders?