Power vs. Influence

Have you ever thought about the difference between having power versus having influence? It is a question that was brought up at one of the recent conferences I attended and it left me pondering. I believe I came to my own conclusion as to what the difference is between the two. To me, power is positional, resented, and temporary. Influence on the other hand is personal, valued, and long-term.

Let's start with power. When I say power is positional I mean that someone is powerful based on the sole reason of them holding a position that gives them their power. Someone who is in a high position and makes it known to everyone "below" them that they are the one's in charge is someone who is abusing their power. Using their power to scare their workers to work more efficiently and according to their standards is someone who abuses power. Someone who uses their power to make someone feel belittled or less than is someone who is abusing their power. Because of these actions made by people in positions of power they are not respected but instead resented. They are not influencing nor empowering their workers but instead are abusing their power and creating resentment. That I know is not the definition of a true leader. When a person focuses on their power and does not influence, they are temporary. Once they are no longer in their position they will never be remembered or their legacy will not live on. Instead of seeking power shouldn't we seek influence?

Now let's talk about influence. Instead of influence being positional it is instead personal. Someone who is an influencer does not need to have a title to empower others to make change, they instead influence based off of their own values and beliefs. Influencers may not have the positional power so in order to influence they must lead by example. Leading by example allows them to be valued and respected by others. Naturally, someone who advocates and inspires others to become leaders themselves is someone who is very respected and sought after. An influencer is long-term and what I mean by that is regardless of the position they hold even after they have moved onto new endeavors they will still continue to be influencers. They will be remembered for their ability to influence, empower, and improve the lives of others. So now my question to you is, would you like to be known as powerful or as an influencer?

Let's not be confused. Just because you are in a high position does not mean you are automatically a person who abuses power. You need to use that high platform to be an influencer. I believe if we had more influencers in society today our world would be a better place.

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