After landing in Ithaca last week, I was greeted by my best friend who invited me to go straight to dinner.  And in that moment, I noticed that there was something different.

On her feet.

As I looked down, I saw beautiful silver-blue sparkle and a wedge heel.  Something I might wear.

Which made me laugh out loud.

Because on my feet were walking sandals that could have come from her closet.

Without ever discussing it, we had each influenced the other’s choice.

When I’m working with senior execs who are in elevated leadership roles, one of the most critical topics that we address is influence: who to be visible to and how.

That type of influence is both direct and strategic.  And it’s important.

But there are two other types of leadership influence that are just as critical, and the last might be the most powerful.

One is a leader’s capacity to be influenced by others, to let in opinion different from one’s own, to seek it out with curiosity, to allow information to penetrate our existing thinking, to use it for robust decision-making.  The best leaders that I work with don’t just allow dissent, they go looking for it.  (You can read about Brad Wilson, CEO Emeritus of BCBS, describing this in my book.)

The other comes simply from being a leader.  This is the kind of influence that ripples out by virtue of occupying an elevated role.  And it is this influence that might require the most of us because it is here that we serve as a model to others.  It is here that knowing who we are, being able to manage ourselves – lead ourselves – under high pressure, uncertain, challenging situations, becomes most critical.

Because it is in this realm where behavior is amplified and magnified through the watchful gaze of those around us.  And under that gaze we are defining not only who we are and who we aspire to be, but also set the standard for what others to aspire to.

The kind influence that most needs our attention is not the influence of others, but the influence of ourselves.

For more on Magnificent Leadership® and working with me directly, you can reach me at  My next openings are at the end of this month.  I have the honor (and fun) of working with successful, talented senior leaders who want to become even better.

Planning your 2020 conference calendar?  So am I.  I’m booking speaking engagements for the fall of 2019 and into 2020 now.  For more on keynote topics and booking information, you can reach me at: