The Four Types of Influence

Which type of influence do you have?


Successful leaders have the right kind of influence. Influence is defined as, “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” Every interaction, conversation, reaction, attitude, and action you have has the potential to influence other people. There are four main types of influence. The types of influence include: negative, neutral, positive, and life changing. You will want to stay away from the first two types while leaning toward the second types of influence. Let’s discuss each one.

Negative influence

The first type is negative influence and it’s the most damaging. Those who have this type of influence tend to focus on their authority, power, or title. They are often egocentric and prideful. These are the leaders who have a hard time getting people to follow, respect, or listen to them. Their influence leaves the team or organization impacted in a negative or bad way; mainly through the poor results the team produces as a result of the negative influence. Do whatever you can to avoid having this type of influence.

Neutral influence

The actions and attitude of this type of influence tends to neither add nor take away from what those around are doing. If a person with this type of influence was in a group of people they would not necessary do anything that would cause them to stand out or be seen as a leader. They don’t proactively lead, help, or take charge. These are the people with the position or title but who do not maximize it in a way that advances the team or organization. Often the people (staff) have to lead and motivate themselves to produce results because the leader is not going to influence them to do so.

Remember, you will want to avoid these first two types of influence. Let’s see the type of influence you should strive to have.

Positive influence

A leader with this type of influence adds value and leaves the people you come in contact with better off as a result of this leader’s actions and attitude. They actively lead, build relationships with others, and are present; all in the attempts to inspire, coach, and lead people to producing better results. They want to make a positive impact in the lives of those they lead, helping them to be successful in all areas of their life. Positive influence requires a high level of intentionality, energy, and effort but the results will be that everyone will be and do better because you are the leader.

Life changing influence

This is the pinnacle and most valuable type of influence. There are few people who possess or reach this level of influence. It takes years or decades of leading well and with positive influence to obtain life changing influence. A few examples of life changing influencers includes: Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, John C. Maxwell, and Abraham Lincoln.

Life changing influence is about impacting someone in a way were their life is permanently changed as a result of what you have done and said. Those you influence in this way remain positivity impacted long after you have left the team or organization. It requires investing your entire life and all of your attention to serve and help other people to win and become successful in life and at work. It’s about laying down your own wants and needs to add value to other people. The sacrifice is worth the return because you will have loyal and dedicated people who are willing to do anything for you.

Questions: Which type of influence are you cultivating in your leadership? What can you do today to create positive and life changing influence in the lives of those you lead?

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2 thoughts on “The Four Types of Influence

  1. i am personally trying to cultivate the Life-changing influence. Sometimes I find myself more in the positive one but work desperately to stay out of the other two. As a pastor, I feel my greatest contribution can be to help people see the importance of life-change.