Develop Influence Using the 4 Principles of Leadership

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "High Performance Habits" by Brendon Burchard. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is influence? What traits and qualities do influential people have? Can anyone develop influence?

Influence is your ability to affect people’s actions and opinions. Contrary to a popular belief, influence is not tied to inborn traits such as introversion or extroversion. Anyone can develop influence if they put their mind to it.

Read more about how to develop influence and improve your leadership skills.

Can Anyone Develop Influence?

Contrary to a popular belief, influence is not tied to personality traits such as introversion or extroversion. Anyone can develop influence if they put energy into fostering their relationships. To foster these relationships, be generous and consider the ways you can use influence as a leader.

Influence and Leadership Principles

Living by the following principles will help you gain influence and improve your leadership skills:

1. Change How People Think

Influential people show others how they want them to think. By asking framing statements and questions such as, “Think about it like this…” or “What would you think if I…”, you can adjust the way people look at a situation. If you lead people into more efficient models of thinking, you’ll start to earn their trust and gain influence. As you do, you’ll be able to shape the way that they think about their role and their impact on the world around them. 

2. Challenge People to Raise the Bar

Influential people know how to challenge the people around them without insulting or degrading them. They set standards for the people around them and hold them accountable. Though they have to endure the occasional awkward conversation, high performers know how important it is to push people to meet and exceed expectations.

3. Be Willing to Provide Favors

The more willing you are to give, the more your friends, family, and colleagues will trust and respect you. Often, people avoid being generous by making the excuse, “I’m simply too busy.” If you feel you’re too busy to be helpful or generous, chances are you have a time-management problem or are just unwilling to be generous.

4. Practice What you Preach

Once they’ve set high standards and shown people how to think, high performers adhere to the expectations they set. If you don’t, people will view you as hypocritical and ignore your guidance. 

Develop Influence Using the 4 Principles of Leadership

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Here's what you'll find in our full High Performance Habits summary :

  • The 6 habits that high performers have
  • How being a high performer is about more than one big achievement
  • The 3 traps that can foil you, even if you're a high performer

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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