Have you ever wondered what is influence, really? I have. And lately I’ve been thinking about it more and more.

“Influence is that rare opportunity to make positive change. No act of kindness toward another person will ever be wasted.”

Click Here To Tweet This Quote

I recently wrote about the power of influence (hereherehere and here), but I wanted to give you something more. Below is a list of characteristics that a person of positive influence possesses. Men and women who are active and passionate leaders are made of such quality. Are you a person of influence?

What Is Influence?

A person of influence…
  1.  “creates passion in other people”
  2. “is a leader
  3. “casts a Vision greater than themselves”
  4. leads a tribe of passionate followers”
  5. “is self-focused first (in a healthy way)”
  6. “is others-oriented second”
  7. “makes mistakes and is not ashamed to let others know about it”
  8. “creates positive tension in life”
  9. “has many critics”
  10. “creates value”
  11. “grants permission to make change”
  12. can be imitated by others”
  13. “owns up to their weaknesses and personality flaws”
  14. “doesn’t need to push, pull or coerce”
  15. “is intentional about personal growth and development
  16. “is organized in life and business”
  17. “doesn’t settle for second-best”
  18. “is productive in their given field”
  19. “shares what they learn with others”
  20. “is deliberate with their time
  21. “has a focused intensity in their niche”
  22. “identifies the obstacles that hinder growth and success”
  23. “has a plan and is willing to amend the plan when necessary”
  24. “understands that he or she can never stop learning”
  25. “is always honest, trustworthy, ethical, and moral”
  26. “is available to others”
  27. “is not controlling or domineering”
  28. “were themselves radically influenced by others”
  29. “takes initiative”
  30. “lives outside the comfort zone”
  31. “knows how to push others out of the comfort zone”
  32. “are mentors to others and are mentored themselves”
  33. says “Follow Me” (just like Jesus Christ)

QUESTION: What other characteristics can you think of that a person of influence possesses? (Click here to leave a comment)

* Image credit: MyFWCmedia (Creative Commons)

Reader Interactions


    • Hi Charles,
      A few additional characteristics:
      1. Puts the learning (education, training, study) in action by applying it, teaching it, and evaluating it.
      2. Has a spirit of victory even in bad times. Some call it a “can do” attitude.
      3. Has/demonstrates discipline, focus, and productive habits
      4. Uses failures as stepping stones to success
      5. Is decisive and firm in belief
      6. Is purposeful / intentional
      7. Is passionate

      I’m not sure about the line drawn for self focused first and serves others second. Beyond the example Jesus set, there are many others were serving others drove personal aspirations, or even if self focused it was a means to a serving of others.

      • Justin, these are great additions to my list. Thanks!

        My thought around taking care of yourself first, and then others second, comes out of the idea that I can be of little help to others if I am completely neglected. As an example, the apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:16):

        “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”

  1. Charles,

    Great comprehensive list.  The only additional characteristic that comes to mind is transparency. It is okay for leaders to be human and have faults.  It is also okay for leaders to change when confronted by members of the team.

    • That’s a great one, TJ. In fact, when a leader shows his or her faults without covering them up, that vulnerability is quite attractive. Transparency creates even more influence.

      Good stuff!

  2. Additional one Punishes if necessary. That is for the sake of the majority. Is controlled and controls,


  1. […] Applied Influence means that someone is putting into practice what they’ve gleaned from you. They are applying your wisdom, your persona, your guidance, your rules, your…whatever. And so they begin following you. When you speak, they listen and put it into action. When you move, they watch and wonder how they can do it as well. […]

  2. […] around here is “Leadership is Influence”. So it is interesting to me when Charles Specht listed What is Influence: 33 Characteristics Of An Influential Person. In it, he reminds us, “Influence is that rare opportunity to make positive change. No act of […]

  3. […] Below are some quotes from this chapter that I’ve highlighted in the book. These are great one-liner reminders about how leaders must embrace the realm of the digital world. Not to do so would be a great error, indeed. Our tribes demand our internet presence and the people around the world will benefit from what we have to say. To not lead in the digital world could be the biggest mistake a person might make who wants to make a difference, an impact, and be a positive influence. […]