“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Kenneth Blanchard

Positive Quote: “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Kenneth Blanchard


This quote reminds me of a training course I took many a year ago around the topic of influencing without authority. Back then I did some project management type work and as a project manager, you have a team of people on the project that may or may not (mostly not) work for you. Getting them to work together when you don’t have direct management authority can be a challenge.


This is where I learned early on that you have to leave your ego at the door. That it doesn’t matter if it is your way, their way, or a combination of ways. The most important thing is to communicate, have a shared goal, and be able to work towards that goal with appropriate milestones, celebrations, and lessons learned.


As a leader, I have to accept and realize that having people work for you and do things because they want to goes further than because they have to. One is short term and the other has lasting benefits.


I find myself thinking back on times where more was accomplished through influence versus authority. Influence is not negative and is not meant to mean manipulative. It means (at least to me) that you have a brand and people know what type of person and leader you are. Your thoughts and ideas add value. While they may not always be leveraged or pursued, they add to the conversation in a positive way.


If I think of this in more personal terms, I would consider my 17 year old daughter. She is at a time in her life where my authority is diminishing, yet my influence is not. She is away from me more than she is with me due to school, a part time job, and hanging out with friends. I have to know that my influence over her is more lasting that my authority. That the ‘old’ methods of grounding, time outs, speeches may not be as effective. Now, it becomes more about what I taught her both by my words and actions and what ‘sticks’. The other day she mentioned to me that she had been dealing with a company about something and she found herself asking… what would mom do? then she adapted it to fit her personality and was more assertive of herself. I smiled when she told me the story alter that evening. I can hope that as she goes off to college next year, that she will make good choices, not because of authority but because of the positive influence she has been exposed to over the years.


What do you think of this quote?


Have a marvelous Friday.



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