Types of Influencers

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Leadership Development, Relationships
Tags: , ,

Here’s a little theory of different types of people with power and influence and the forms that their influence takes. I believe that the more of each one of these you possess the more influential you will become.


– Keeps tabs on people

– Gets personal with people, asking about them

– Remembers names

– Builds up knowledge base about people

Power lies in ability to capture people’s hearts and utilize individuals around a common cause.


– keepers of thought

– uses communication skills to shift paradigms

– feeds minds and souls

Power lies in the ability to compel minds in such a way that people are willing to digest it, believe it, and act on it.


– performs with a high degree of excellence and skill

– people are drawn by the dazzling effect of skill

Power lies in the ability to draw people, making a message or a cause more effective.

Figure Heads

– possessing a high degree of poise and confidence

– positionally close to power

– careful with time and associations

– high integrity

– leads by example

Power lies in the position and authority such people exude. People will listen when they speak, not because of what they are saying but because of who they are. They are like an anchor that secures the trust of others.

Keepers of Knowledge

– holds expertise that few others have

– is able to think clearly about things when others falter

Power lies in the secret knowledge needed to solve problems or overcome obstacles to accomplishing a goal.


– assimilates knowledge to create something new

– always experimenting with structures of thought or action

– develops other ways to look at the world

Power lies in the appeal of the fresh, the next thing. A movement can be better communicated or achieved with new language or new structures.


– willing and able to take on larger than average tasks

– has a tried and true record of responsibility and results

– has the ability to mobilize people around a task

Power lies in the ability to get things done. People will lean on this person and do it their way because they are strong enough to handle it.

Furthermore, a good team will have several of these different types of influencers connected to it.

Which of these does your group, organization, or team need?

– Capturing the pulse of groups of people and individuals

– Compelling the thoughts of people

– Drawing numbers of people

– Securing trust from people

– Procuring and applying knowledge to make things work

– Envisioning and enlivening people with fresh ideas

– Mobilizing people toward a goal

For Capturing you need a Connector, for Compelling you need a Philosopher, for Drawing you need a Performer, for Securing Trust you need a Figure Head, for Procuring Knowledge you need a Keeper of Knowledge, for Envisioning you need an Originator, and for Mobilizing you need an Achiever.

People may have one dominant method of influence, but the others may be learned over time. It is not necessary to have all these traits in one leader. There is value in recognizing the differences in the types of influence we have as leaders. Otherwise, we may lose sight of the value of another who operates differently. Leaders can be tempted to fail to recognize a leader or influencer who has a different influencing style. Or they can be tempted to become frustrated with a leader who does not have the same values that they do. However, when we can recognize the influence of others more fully, we can acknowledge the type of influence this person exerts and utilize this power wisely.

By looking at the types of influencers we can rule out those who have very little influence and, therefore, are not ready to become leaders. However, when we recognize a type of influence someone has, we can cultivate that influence, and instruct them how to add in other types of influence to strengthen their leadership. Some types of influence will become unnecessary to an individual to cultivate in his or her own life. But in turn, this leader will need to be taught how to value and rely on the influence of others where they are weak.


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