Power versus Influence. What is the difference?
I heard a fine distinction the other day at a eulogy – where the clergyman was addressing the grandchildren of the person who had passed.
The clergyman asserted that power and influence are subtle opposites.
1. When power is shared, power diminishes.
However, when influence is shared, influence increases.
2. When the people with power die, their power dies with them.
However, when people with influence die, their influence often lives on after their death.
3. In the case of power, once the person is removed from power, their reputation diminishes and people often talk poorly of that person.
However, in the case of influence, once the person has moved on, the reputation of that person increases; often even leading to the elevation of that person beyond where they were considered whilst they were around.
4. Power is exercised over people.
However, influence is shared through people.
In the case of power, think of dictators like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi. While they were in place they were reluctant to share their power. Once gone, their power is no more and their history is poorly regarded.
They shared their influence. Their influence has increased since they have passed on, to the point of being made into a legend.
How can be more influential in the roles we hold?
Stephen Covey authored many best-selling books, based largely on principles. One of them was ‘To Live, To Learn to Love, To Leave a Legacy.’
We all want to live a full life. And many of us would yearn for influence long after we are gone – in essence leaving a legacy.
Clearly the main thing, the number one principle is to share your influence.
How do you do that? Here are some ideas:
- Share expertise
- Share experiences
- Share words of encouragement
- Share insights
- Share time
- Share advocacy
- Share values
- Share promises
- Share learnings
- Share examples
- Share acts of kindness
- Share gifts
- Share acts of service
- Share concerns
- Share an ear
- Share care
- Share compassion
- Share empathy
By doing so, we get to impact, to influence, to leave a legacy and enhance our reputation long, long after we have left our initial footprints.
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