The emotionally intelligent influencer

Have you ever noticed that you are influenced by people who make you feel connected to them in some way? Adopting a new perspective, changing our consumer behavior, and conforming to social rules are ways in which we are influenced on a daily basis. In fact, some forms of influence are even entertaining. Think about the impact of social media followers on our behavior (hello TikTok hacks!). How can we learn from social media, apply the same level of influence and be an emotionally intelligent influencer?

The essence of influence

Daniel Goleman, internationally renowned psychologist and author, says: “With the skill of influence, you are persuasive and engaging, and you can get buy-in from key people. You can’t order people to do what you want. You need to persuade or inspire them to do their best to achieve the clear goal you have set. ”[1]

In the same vein, Rasheed Ogunlaru, life and leadership coach, enlightens us by elaborating: “The only way to change your mind is to connect with the person through the heart.”[2]

Influence is therefore a social skill with which we gain buy-in from key people, ideally through human connection. Connection also calls upon another skill, just as important to leadership: empathy. Empathy is a way of feeling the emotions of others and imagining what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Be influential and human

So how do we put it all together to beexceptional leaderswho influence with high impact without necessarily antagonizing or harming interpersonal relationships?

  • Build trust. Be authentic and honest in what you convey.
  • Be on the lookout for the atmosphere. Observe body language and address resistance or objections with a question to better understand what’s behind their response.
  • Listen actively. Paraphrase what you heard when people react to what you said.
  • Show empathy. Demonstrate understanding for the current reality the person is experiencing before offering change or improvement through influence.

A final word on influence. While influencing decisions is the primary way influence is used, why not also influence your team to show empathy, be authentic, and practice active listening skills? You will then practice your sense of influence and inspire a more human approach.

Looking to increase your sense of influence? The professional coaches at Iceberg Management are there to help you during individual or group sessions.

[1] Goleman, D., Taylor, M., Lippincott, M., Boyatzis, R. E., Druskat, V., Senge, P. (n.d.). Influence: Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence: a Primer. United States: More Than Sound Productions.

[2] “A Quote by Rasheed Ogunlaru.” Goodreads, accessed September 5, 2022 on


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