The three levels of powerful influence
Kerwin Rae

A lot of people want to be a leader, but go about it in the wrong way. They think it’s a title they get that means they’re in charge, everyone’s gotta listen to them.

But the fact is, leadership isn’t about that at all. It’s about gaining the trust of people, so they feel influenced by you and inspired to follow you.

I’m not talking about a dictatorship or domination or management.

I’m talking about how to create a willingness in people, where they want to follow you, not because you’ve told them to, but they want to because something about you lights them up.

I’ve identified the three levels of influence, and because I’m feeling extra generous today, I thought I’d share them with you.


1. Demonstrate

We’re social animals, and one of the most powerful influences on our behaviour is social proof, meaning that when we’re unsure of what to do, we look to the rest of our pack to see what they’re doing.

We need to understand as leaders, that which we demonstrate, influences. How we show up, influences. Because whether you realise it or not, you’re visible right now.

My question to you is, what are you demonstrating with that visibility?

Do your behaviours inspire people to take action and follow in your footsteps? Or is it the opposite?

What you demonstrate has the ability to affect people at a tremendously high level- but the question is, are you conscious of what you’re demonstrating?

Our goal in leadership is to get to the point where this is autonomous. To get to that point, you need to bring consciousness and awareness to the conversation.

Ask yourself, how do I show up everyday? Do I work at a level that “wows” people?


2. Engagement

It’s one thing to be able to influence someone through demonstration, but it’s another thing completely to be able to influence someone by talking one-on-one.

Some people have great external leadership skills, from the perspective that they work really hard, they have an incredible work ethic, they’re strongly aligned with the culture

Butt they don’t have the skills to engage with someone if they see that person struggling, or have a tough conversation.

The goal of leadership isn’t to be reactive, it’s to be responsive.

We don’t want to be waiting until things go wrong before we engage with people or with departments to try and fix the problem.

The highest levels of leadership are intuitive, and that means being able to see and feel things before they happen, meaning you have the ability to nip things in the bud before they become too big.

And I can tell you right now, as a leader you’ll be putting out so many fires you’re basically a firefighter.

Leaders are often going from one problem to the next, so you need to be able to solve problems really quickly.

But the most evolved form of problem solving is to be able to prevent problems from forming in the first place.

A great way to do this is by intuitively engaging with people around you, who trust you.
You can try engage with anyone, but if they don’t trust you they’re not going to open up to you.

If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to be influenced by your advice.
If they don’t trust you, they’ll question the advice you give and wonder what the agenda is.

And what is the ultimate agenda for leadership? Service.

Leadership is all about being of service, helping develop people, providing support.
In doing this, you end up creating more leaders, which is crucial when it comes to scaling.

You don’t want to create an organisation where everyone comes to you with every single issue.

You want to create an organization where people are developed as leaders, so they can go to other people for support on issues.

In order to do that, you need to develop and scale leadership within the culture by being of service.

3. Direction

In saying direction, I don’t mean “where do we go?”. I mean, do people listen to you when you give them a direction?

Do they follow through when you give them a direction?

Not an order or a command, but how do you enroll people to the point that they want to follow through on directions that you give them?

You want to be able to give them a direction, and they trust you, and they just do it.

The fact is, there are some people that we like to take direction from, and love their direction so much we seek out that persons’ directions.

And there are other people we just think “oh for f**ks sake, just shut up”.

The difference is your ability to lead and influence by example, and not by command.