Breaking the Grip of Influence: 4 Strategies to Make Decisions as a Strong Leader


Hold your own power: stop letting others influence your decisions.

American actor, James Hong, is quoted as saying “Live how you want to live, not being influenced by others around you.” He could just have accurately said, “Lead how you want to lead…”

One of your key responsibilities as leader is to make decisions. Some of those will be no-brainers but some will take a lot more thought. Sometimes you might even need to seek help, but the final choice should remain yours.

How influence erodes power.

The trouble is that when you’re not sure which way to go, you are open to the influence of others. When you make your final decision, ask yourself if it’s yours or someone else’s. Research tells us that when people don’t already hold an opinion, it’s easy to be swayed by others – social default. It can be easier to agree and keep the peace than to ruffle feathers by suggesting an alternative.

It gets worse. I’ve had clients tell me of occasions where they hadn’t made their final decision so colleagues and interested parties saw their chance to sway the choice. From subtle hints to outright instruction, they were bombarded with the opinions of others. It can paralyse the decision-making process of anyone who isn’t sure what to do.

How can you stay in your own power?

Think for yourself.

I’ve noticed when people are struggling to decide, they are thinking about right or wrong, or what others might think. Their emotions have kicked in and they are speaking more loudly than thought. When people are in an emotional state, they are vulnerable to influence. As leader, you can’t allow that to happen, so instead of worrying about the decision, think about it. Do some research. Gather information so you can form an opinion and make a considered choice.

What others think doesn’t matter.

When people make choices based on their concerns for what other people might think, they are less likely to be good. The old saying, “You can’t please everyone” is true. Logically, there will be people who agree with your decision and people who don’t, no matter which way you go. You have to live with the consequences of your decision, so make sure it’s right for you.

Stick to your values.

If you’re letting others influence your decisions, you’re not living according to your values. You’re not being the leader you were born to be. Be true to yourself. Ask yourself what is important to you. What do you value? What do you feel is right? What should your leadership look like if you live and act according to your values?

I know from experience that when I make decisions based on my values, I feel more comfortable and confident in them. The reactions of people who don’t agree doesn’t have the same impact on me because I know why I made my choice. I can support my decision. I have enough confidence to face people who would disagree.

Accept the consequences.

All decisions have consequences, and you need to weigh them up as you make your choice. Be comfortable with your decision. It is much easier to live with the consequences when your decision is aligned with your values.

Aesop said, “He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own.” It’s fine to ask the opinions of others as you do your research but it’s not OK to be controlled by them. Your leadership power lies in confidently acting according to your values. Can you do that?

If you’re feeling as though you’re not as strong as you could be, reach out. Take a stand and defend your leadership ability. Work with me to build your self-awareness and find your own power.

Book a call today and take control of all your decisions.

Caroline Kennedy, author of Lead Beyond 2030: The Nine Skills You Need to Intensify Your Leadership Impact, is an accomplished former CEO, Award-Winning Executive Coach and global thought leader on business and leadership. She is a highly sought-after mentor and coach to top global executives. A respected keynote speaker and author, Caroline’s methods are neuroscience-based to achieve rapid development and growth.


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