Impact over influence: How to become a leader that lasts

As a leader, do you want your team to be more engaged, productive, and motivated?

I meet leaders who say “Yes!” to this question but lament that “Nothing is working”.

Here is the problem – there’s a great saying, “What got you here won’t get you there” and
this is true in the current leadership development dynamic globally.

What leaders have relied on in the past to get teams going is not necessarily what will work in the future.

Leaders who lead great teams in the future will stop solely relying on inspiration and influence.

These will remain important, but they are no longer enough to win the hearts and minds of your team and cause them to totally buy in, engage and commit.

Don’t get me wrong, inspiration and influence still has its place but it’s ‘impact’ in leadership that is the real game-changer.


We need inspiring leaders to be the spark that starts the fire, however we need more and more to keep the fire burning.

Here’s why inspiring people is not enough.

If you have ever seen a shooting start or an amazing fire work, you would know it’s an incredible sight.

But it fizzles out and disappears.

It’s the same when you inspire somebody.

They get excited and fire up ,only to fizzle out.

Excitement isn’t enough to keep them going, it runs out just like motivation does.

Inspiration is still important, but on its own it’s not enough.


Influence has always thought to have been one of the top ways to lead teams.

And it is a powerful leadership tool.

Influence moves and shifts people to action.

The challenge is that, as a leader, you usually need to be in close range to influence somebody.

It’s your example, energy and enthusiasm in the moment that moves someone to action.

It’s the sporting victory speech in the sheds that moves people to go out and give it all they’ve got.

It’s the Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire “help me, help you,” speech that closes the deal.

It’s persuasion at its best.

What happens though is when you’re not there, that speech is forgotten and people go back to their old habits and stop taking action.

You still need influence as a leader to shift and move people forward, however, just remember it always needs a top up.


You can shift the needle when leading your team through impact.

It’s the ability to change and transform people’s lives.

When you impact someone it’s forever.

Impact is defined as a significant or major effect on something.

Think of somebody who has changed your life.

Their impact has left an indelible mark on your life and transformed who you are, how you think and what you do.

I remember my rugby league coach as a 14-year-old.

I had unfortunately just left school and home and was living in a caravan out the back of his place.

I was young, scared, lost and sport was all I had.

I remember one he revved us up in the sheds at half-time one day.

He grabbed my jersey, locked eyes with me and screamed, “Never stop believing in yourself”.

Those words reverberated through my soul and were tattooed on my heart right there and then.

It was an impactful moment that remains with me in times of struggle and challenge .

All because someone believed in me.

It was a moment that changed the way I saw myself forever.

Stephen Covey said it best, “What you do has greater impact than what you say”.

Four ways to have impact

  • Have an intention to and make it your purpose to impact people as a leader.
  • Have a genuine and caring interest in who the person is and how important they are to the
  • Be kind, empathetic and use empowering words and actions. How you make somebody feel
    is remembered long after you are gone.
  • Invest and engage in equipping, resourcing, and supporting them to be their best version.

Remember, inspiration provides the spark, influence gets people moving, but it’s impact that keeps them
going and lasts forever.

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