Leadership as an Influence Process

Occasionally Margie and I lead a couples’ workshop that lasts a day and a half. It’s really interesting—you might say, “What does leadership training have to do with couples in a marriage relationship?”  It is such a powerful thing, we found out, because as a lot of you know, we define leadership as an influence process. Anytime you’re trying to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of another person, you are engaging in leadership. When you ask people about the most influential people in their lives, they don’t normally mention bosses at work. They talk about their mother, father, grandfather, uncle, or a coach or teacher. There is a lot of life role leadership that goes on, informally, in families and in friendships and all. Leadership in the home is life role leadership. It’s probably the most important leadership role you could ever have.

In our work, you know we say that leadership is a transformational journey starting with self leadership, then moving to one-on-one leadership, then to team leadership, and then to organizational leadership. And as we look at families, it becomes really clear that self leadership really starts with just finding out who you are and whose you are, and getting perspective on your life. Then you move to a marriage relationship, and that’s when you’re trying to influence each other, one on one. Then when kids come along—now we’re talking about team leadership. How do you build a community? How do you get people to recognize that none of us is as smart as all of us, and really create that team environment? And then the organizational leadership of a family would be the extended family. What do you do with your in-laws and outlaws and cousins and that whole thing? That’s something most people don’t think about as a leadership position, and yet in a family, it’s a whole different element. So it’s kind of fascinating. Through our training we realize that these concepts apply at home as much as they do in business. So learning how to be a good leader is good for everyone.

3 thoughts on “Leadership as an Influence Process

  1. Hey Ken,

    Thanks for opening the door of leadership development to family life. Frankly, whats more important than listening, problem solving, mission, vision, and team building in the family context? I think leading at home is more challenging than leading in business so why shouldn’t we dedicate leadership training in that direction. Furthermore, successful leadership at home is an indication one can succeed in the office.

    I’m fortunate to deal with many college students. It’s ashame how little they understand the importance of enhancing and extending their influence for good.

    Learning how to lead enhances my relationship with others beyond the business world.


    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell
    Recent Blog: Burn your job description

  2. Being a leader is an important role in today’s society. Each generation is getting the idea of following others which isnt’t the message that we want being transmitted to the youth in the world. I recently read a book, Gung Ho, it really got me pondering on life and reality. With just the realization of being able to make a difference in your own life and others’ and make an improvement in the world, you can get more of an incentive to want to be able to work harder. With that being said, if you have more desire to work and improve in what you do, you will see changes in a different perspective. This perspective can be interpreted in unique ways and is determined based on your thinking and mind set. Gung Ho exhibits processes that lead to success and good will power. If we work together as a whole we can move forward and make better progress. Something really important to me, personally that I learned from reading the book was that every one’s job has some sort of importance to it. Each has its own value; some are more valued than others, but each have great quality. Even a cafeteria food lady, the job seems so pointless. Think about it… When you see it in a more optimistic way, you can see that schools need people to do this. Without someone doing this job, who is going to make food for the students? We need people to do all sorts of jobs in this world. We can all cooperate to make the world a greater place for its people.

  3. Ken,
    I am currently reading your book, Lead Like Jesus, and I find the concepts right on target with my experiences. Thanks for validating leadership as influence in all relationships. My work with professional and family teams brings me to this reality and I look forward to gaining addtional wisdom from your book.
    Sincerely, Maria C. Forbes

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