• ronedmondson September 7, 2010  

    Jenni, I've wrestled with this question before. I always come back to the question of what is leadership I think defining that determines your answer.

    I'll look forward to reading the responses you receive also.

  • Amy Nabors September 7, 2010  

    No I don’t think it necessarily is.I think a leader keeps the well being whether spiritual or otherwise as a priority. You could have influence over someone but only want what they can do for you.

    • jcatron September 7, 2010  

      Great point, Amy. Influence isn't always positive.

  • missional girl September 8, 2010  

    I think of influence as being more like a gentle breeze that aids the ship—but it's not necessarily the captain steering the ship.

    • jcatron September 8, 2010  

      That is a great visual for influence vs leadership. I may need to steal that illustration 🙂

  • david widmer September 8, 2010  

    I have to vote no. Leadership requires consistent and effective influence. Influence is a fundamental part of leadership, but it can exist completely void of leadership. In fact it can be used in ways that undermine the goals leadership, to Amy's point. Influence has great potential to magnify mistakes in leadership. How many leaders have we seen collapse at peak times because their influence became so great and they failed to keep it in check?

    • jcatron September 8, 2010  

      I totally agree with you David. Great points!

  • Morgan MacGavin September 8, 2010  

    Not necessarily. Influence can come in positive and negative forms. If you have negative influence, would you really consider that as leadership? Sure, it can "lead" you down the wrong path–but I would say that you aren't really being led so much as you are simply stumbling in the dark trying to find your way.

  • stephenbateman September 8, 2010  

    Perhaps we could call influence "potential energy" and leadership "kinetic energy"

    Then we could conclude that once influence gets used, for better or for worse, it becomes leadership.

    • jcatron September 8, 2010  

      I like that – potential energy & kinetic energy

  • Nicole September 8, 2010  

    I think leadership is influence exerted. And I do believe that there are certain personalities with the power of influence (think charisma)–and should they choose to use that influence, they are very powerful in their leadership. Conversely, I think without influence, it is very hard to be a "visionary" leader–one that makes change happen. You can be a shepherding leader, or a managing leader, but to move people toward a goal, I think you must have that influence factor.

    • jcatron September 8, 2010  

      I like your distinctions on style of leader, Nicole. I agree that the influence factor is critical for the visionary leader.

  • jcatron September 8, 2010  

    I agree, Jenny. The definition of leadership is critical.

  • Michael McKinney September 9, 2010  

    For all of the above reasons, I define leadership as intentional influence.


  • Rubatoross October 4, 2012  

    A follower can INFLUENCE a leader without any chang in position or definition.