Are You an Effective Influencer?

Are you trying to bring about transformational change in your organization?  That’s a big effort with several challenges to having it be successful.  As a leader, what can you do to increase your odds?
With the growth of social media, the term “influencer” has taken on a special meaning.  In many definitions, it refers to a person who can powerfully influence purchasing decisions.  However, another definition that I found on the internet says, “An influencer is a person who has the ability to make a group of people follow him/her and take him/her as an example due to personality, authority, success, goals, values, abilities etc. He/she inspires people and becomes an anchor that keeps people together; in other words, he/she builds a community around him/her.”  That is the definition of an effective leader.
For social media, influencers have common characteristics, some of which are excerpted here:
1.  They Are Trustworthy.  They are a trusted source of information, a real person, with original thoughts, and aren’t just repeating stuff other people say.
2.  They Are a Respected Thought Leader.  An influencer is typically interested in just one main topic with lots of sub-topics from that main idea. They have a loyal following of readers and people they engage with.  They actually interact and react to the interests of their audience, even though they may not agree with them.
3.  Their Words Have Impact.  They can often impact other influencers and buyers in a given space because of their knowledge and passion for the topic.
4.  They Are Engaging. They regularly interact and engage with their followers.
5.  They Go to Their Audience.  They use the same tools (usually Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Discord, Instagram) as the crowd.
6.  They Have a Growing Audience.  An influencer is constantly trying to grow reach.  Some influencers experience fast growth, others are slower, but their reach is constantly growing.
Your organization has influencers at all levels, and they are valuable allies in transformational change.  As a leader, you can strive to be an influencer yourself, but you should also cultivate other influencers to multiply the rate at which you can drive change.  What are the characteristics of organizational influencers you should seek?
Credibility is key.  Regardless of position or title, they are seen as trustworthy.  Their support of your position grants it instant standing in the court of public opinion.
Early adopters is another term for thought leaders.  They are quick to spot emerging trends and gifted at sifting out the real messages from the “me too” sycophants.  They add value by bringing new ideas to bear in support of the change.
Lifelong learning contributes to their knowledge that feeds their credibility and solidifies their position as early adopters.
Charisma, while not required to be an influencer, is extremely helpful in engaging other people and spreading the message.
Passion demonstrated their personal commitment to the change and helps fan the fires like an accelerant, adding the breadth and intensity of their support.
Now is the time for a little self-reflection.  Who is in your community of supporters?  Where do you stand in exhibiting the characteristics of an organizational influencer yourself?  What steps do you need to take to increase your personal impact in bringing about transformational change?  And how can we help?

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