Going beyond basic management skills to become an influential leader

January 4, 2017|Thomas Schultz

Being a leader and being a manager are two very different things. Part of being an influential leader is finding ways to appropriately guide and inspire those around you, rather than just relying on your position for authority. Over time, as your leadership responsibilities evolve, the skills and perspective you need also change.

Picture it this way

This infographic—let’s call it an inverted triangle of influence—illustrates how understanding your influence as a leader can help you achieve your personal, team, and organizational goals.

As you move through the triangle toward the top, you don’t lose the values and skills you needed for the layers beneath, rather you develop an increasingly complex perspective. The higher your position on the triangle, the more responsibility and influence is expected of you.

At the organizational layer, you may still produce work as an individual, but as a leader, you must think three dimensionally: you need to think in terms of yourself, in terms of the team and in terms of the organization overall. This layered thinking supports decision making and assists you to become a better contributor:

  • At the individual level, you develop your skills and abilities to ensure you produce good work.
  • At the team level, you provide guidance and influence with the people around you. Your priorities are magnified by the number of people you are responsible for managing. Collectively, your productivity is judged based on team results
  • At the organizational level, you must consider the interaction of your individual contributions to the business as a leader and how your actions impact the broader organization. At this point, your influence extends beyond your own department – to others that are impacted downstream and upstream.

For information about developing leadership skills and cohesive teams, contact Thomas Schultz, PHR, SHRM-CP, or any member of Schenck’s Human Resources Consulting team at 800-236-2246.


Thomas Schultz, PHR, SHRM-CP, is a manager – HR Consulting with Schenck. He has more than 20 years of human resources experience, including building human resource systems and structures that match the changing needs of businesses. He brings a broad blend of skills in areas such as leadership coaching, employee relations, benefits, training and development, change leadership and employment law.