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Leading Through Influence: How to Empower and Influence Your Employees

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Leading Through Influence is a customized leadership training that Apex Performance Strategies developed to empower both leaders and individual contributors. This leadership training incorporates both Servant Leadership and the component of Influence. Managers who lead through influence strive to serve and empower their employees to become leaders themselves. Read on to learn more about the five strategic ways leaders influence and how it can benefit your organization. 

Servant Leadership and Influence

Servant Leadership follows the philosophy that managers should serve their employees. According to Robert K. Greenleaf, this leadership style shifts the focus from the self to the employees that support accomplishing the vision and mission of the organization by working together. Leaders that influence, build trust and strengthen relationships by creating individual ownership and accountability. A servant leader who leads through influence serves their employees to empower others and create an environment in which everyone can lead.

How to Use Leading Through Influence

Leading Through Influence follows the I-SERVE model which incorporates the trait of “Influence,” and the model of “Five Practices of Great Leaders.” The Five Practices of Great Leaders comes from the book, “The Secret – What Great Leaders Know and Do,” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Read on to learn how leaders can incorporate the I-SERVE model in the workplace. 


While Influence appears to be the first step in the I-SERVE model, it is truly embedded throughout the entire process. To influence someone means to have an effect and/or impact on that person. When leaders positively influence their employees, it helps gain trust and build relationships. To effectively influence others, leaders must listen to their employees and stay open-minded towards their feedback. This then allows leaders to find creative solutions to problems that employees may be facing in order to resolve conflicts efficiently.

See the Future

The first component of the SERVE model is to “See and Shape the Future.” A compelling vision communicates who you are as a team, where you’re going, and what will drive behavior. A great leader must first establish a vision for the future that stirs passion within their team and empowers them to accomplish their goals. Once employees have a clear path on where they are going, the leader’s role then shifts to a servant role in order to implement the strategy and vision. This requires servant leaders to turn the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside down, which in turn, puts the employees at the top and the leaders at the bottom (see figure 1 below). When this happens, it empowers employees to become responsible for driving results and to work autonomously, which then requires the leader to become responsive to the needs of the employees.

Engage and Develop Others

The next component of the model is to “Engage and Develop Others.” Leaders determine who they will work with and select for their journey. They must have the right employees, in the right roles, and fully engaged in order to accomplish the vision. Once they have the right employees, developing them and giving them opportunities to grow is essential for great leadership.

Reinvent Continuously

Reinvent Continuously emphasizes the importance of change. Progress is impossible without constant focus on innovation. Great leaders strive to better themselves, the systems, and the organizational structure so that there is always continuous improvement.

Value Results and Relationships

The best leaders understand how to balance between “relationships” and “results” - they don’t choose one or the other. This leads to a broader definition of success which delegates equal weight to both performance and relationships. Failure to value both, will undermine long term performance. Ways to improve relationships with employees include asking questions; listening to concerns; investing time to get to know each other; giving timely and meaningful feedback; and showing appreciation.

Embody the Values

Leaders must embody and live by the values for others to trust and follow them, in other words, they must “walk the talk.” They must live what they say and align their actions with their intentions. By walking the talk, leaders develop credibility and trust which leads to a positive impact on the culture of the organization.

Key Takeaways

Leading Through Influence is a powerful and effective type of leadership training that can have a positive and lasting impact on the workplace. The combination of Servant Leadership and Influence creates a strong effect by uniquely influencing each employee so that they feel empowered to behave as leaders themselves. If you are interested in the topic of leadership, click the following link to receive a sneak peek of Apex Performance Strategies’ customized training on Leading Through Influence

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