You can impress people from a distance, but you must get close to influence them.
Leadership is often talked about as a title or position and this position is often associated with authority and power. Leaders in these roles are the critical few, and while there are some who are ineffective in these roles, those who are effective understand the importance of influence.
However, when you consider the many positions that people have within an organization–I like to think about these as the “vital many” — most do not have authority or power, yet these individuals function as leaders. These “vital many” in the organization are those in customer service roles, sales roles, and other functional roles in other departments like finance, marketing, IT, or HR. They may have limited power and authority, and no one “reporting” to them, yet, they use their influence every day with their co-workers and customers to make a difference.
It’s easier to impress others. It’s more effective to influence them.
Whether you are one of the critical few in a formal leadership position or the vital many, leading more informally, don’t forget about how important influence is in your ability to get things done with and through others.