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The Role of Influence in Contemporary Leadership

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Influence arises when leaders influence employees’ opinions, behaviors, and emotions. It is a crucial component of a leader’s ability to use his or her authority to not only meet the set goals but also create an environment that fosters respect for one another. Notably, the ability to influence underpins essential leadership skill of motivating people to achieve objectives. Contemporary leadership is associated with various styles of leading others. Today’s companies need leaders who can understand the complexities of a continually changing global environment. To critically explore the role of influence on contemporary leadership, one needs to know the leadership style that manager utilizes.

On the one hand, a leader may use transformational leadership, which concentrates on the development of followers and their needs. A leader who uses transformational leadership style focuses on growth and development of employees, their job satisfaction, and motivation. Therefore, the ultimate goal of leaders is to transform people and organizations. They focus on the big picture of an organization, and they delegate tasks to workers with the aim to meet the set goals. According to Nanjundeswaraswamy and Swamy (2014), transformational leadership arises when a leader upholds the interests of employees. Therefore, the role of influence process has to be aligned with the best interest of employees. In this case, the reward system has an impact on the transformational leadership as it helps to promote a positive work environment not only for employees but also for leaders.

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Moreover, a leader who uses transactional leadership needs to apply the reward system to make a difference in an organization. Transactional leadership is related to rewarding workers in return for their compliance and work done. However, the leader has the right to punish an employee, including firing him or her, if the work done does not meet the required standards. In this form of contemporary leadership, the role of the influence process is to ensure that employees are rewarded either through the use of financial or nonfinancial incentives.

On the other hand, a leader may use autocratic leadership style. It entails a situation where only the top managers are allowed to make decisions without relying on the input other internal players.

Under this contemporary leadership style, the role of the influence process is to ensure that decisions made by the leader can create a positive impact on followers and help to meet organizational goals.


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