Who Influenced Your Leadership?

by Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

The sergeant I reported to while serving in the Air Force had a significant impact on my leadership style. When he said, “This is the easy part, the rest of life will be difficult,” it made so Who influenced your life?much sense. At that instant I realized that he was absolutely correct. Basic training wasn’t hard, it was different and I was a long way from home. I was homesick! My experience with that Air Force sergeant influenced my view of life and leadership in these ways:

  • Before I quit something I ask myself, “What’s the real reason I want to end this?” That question was very helpful as I worked toward my Ph.D.
  • When others are struggling with tough projects I have a different perspective.  I’m more sensitive to the level of difficulty which helps me understand how to encourage the individual.
  • I have a clear sense of my strength as an individual. The sergeant understood what I needed to do and didn’t hesitate, even one second, to point it out. I’ve found that when I’m confident that I know something, I shouldn’t hold back.

Leaders have a solemn responsibility to recognize and responsibly use the influence they’ve been given as a result of their position in the organization.  Most leaders struggle with the knowledge of their influence, but that doesn’t limit the impact on their subordinates.  Whether a leader acts responsibly or irresponsibly, they are still impacting others.  It’s imperative that leaders accept this awesome responsibility with pride and humility.

Who influenced your life?

Take a moment and list five people who have influenced your life and describe why. These people may be relatives, school teachers, coaches, Sunday school teachers, former managers or employees.  Many of them influenced you in a positive way, but don’t be surprised if you remember someone who had a negative influence on you.  In some cases these people taught us what we “don’t” want to be.  If you learned an important lesson from a negative person then by all means list him or her.

Now that you’ve identified the “Influencers” in your life I encourage you to complete these two action steps:

  • As best you can, find a way to tell each person how much influence they had on you; do it in person, call, email or write to them.
  • Now, take some time to consider, “Whose list will you be on?”

If you found these tips from Bob Rausch, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.


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