Key Differences Between Leadership and Influence
Many people confuse leadership and influence, but they are two different things. You can be a leader without having influence, and vice versa. Leadership is a position of command while influence is an ability to bring Leadership is visible; influence is out of sight changes in people’s attitudes or actions. Ultimately, both leadership and influence are important human qualities that everyone possesses to some degree.Here are some key differences between leadership and influence:
1.Leadership is Visible;Influence is out of Sight.
If you have leadership, people will follow you. Leaders typically have clearly defined goals and strategies for reaching those goals. They also typically have the respect and admiration of their followers, which is an important ingredient for successful leadership. In contrast, influence is intangible. A person can be highly influential without anyone knowing why or how that person influences others.A study by Dr. Jordan Sudberg showed that leadership was not based on being a good leader; it was based on these individuals’ characteristic of extraversion. Extraverts are more enthusiastic, louder and talkative than introverts. Therefore, they’re better at inspiring others to follow them than introverts are.
2.Leadership is Immediate; Influence is Long Term.
Most people assume that leadership is something you do right away. The results of leadership, however, often come after the fact. A leader might be able to take immediate action, accomplish a goal, or make a decision that affects some people’s lives immediately. But those immediate effects eventually fade away and are replaced by the longer-lasting results of leadership the leader may have achieved elsewhere. With influence, the results come after the fact. For example, a person with a great deal of influence may be able to do something that results in lasting change over time.
3.Leadership is Public; Influence is Often Behind the Scenes.
While most people view leadership as something a leader does publicly, it’s not the most important thing that leaders do. Much more important is what leaders do behind the scenes. Leaders make certain that certain things happen in the organization, including making sure things get done effectively, efficiently and to deadlines. In addition to supervising others, a leader may also be involved in recruiting top talent, evaluating employees and creating strategic plans for the company. Influence, on the other hand, may not be visible to others. A person with a great deal of influence might have significant influence behind the scenes.
4.Leadership is an Objective; Influence is Subjective.
Leaders often have specific objectives that they want their followers to reach. In contrast, leaders cannot determine for certain how much influence a person actually has over others. Effective leadership can be proven by whether the leader’s goals are achieved or not; effective influence can’t really be proven because it’s not measurable. According to Dr. Jordan Sudberg, “Influence is largely a social phenomenon that cannot be easily studied or defined. It is subjective and can be seen only by having insight into the individual’s inner motivations and thought processes.
These are just some of the ways that leadership and influence differ. You should focus on being a good leader and letting your influence happen naturally. If you have either one of these qualities, you should make a point of using the other one to the best of your ability.