The ONE Quality You Must Master to Reach the Top of the Ladder

By January 3, 2012May 30th, 2020Developing Leadership Skills


In simplest terms, a leader is one who knows where he wants to go, and gets up, and goes.

~ John Erskine

What is one of the most important qualities of leadership? Most people agree that some key leadership qualities include being a team player, claiming responsibility for your actions and making critical decisions. However, there is one major quality that you need no matter where you stand in your organization—a quality that is NOT reserved for CEOs, managers, and others with a title. That quality is INFLUENCE.

If you’re trying to find your way up the corporate ladder but can’t get above a few rungs, influence is the quality you’re most likely missing.

Influence what you need to build connections with people from different levels in your organization, including the following groups:


Gain influence with colleagues across your organization, not only in your own department but across functions. This will give you more support and resources for your projects and ideas.

Upper management.

Lead up by working to influence your superiors. Present your ideas and accomplishments to them in a polished, concise, and enthusiastic way.

Direct reports.

You may think you automatically have influence over your subordinates. However, there’s a big difference between influence inspired by belief, trust, and strong leadership and influence inspired by fear of making a mistake.

Outside stakeholders.

Cultivate relationships with other stakeholders like board members so you’ll always have buy-in for your ideas—and a sounding board to refine them.

Read this blog post that I wrote for leadership guru, Mark Sanborn, exploring the topic of influence in detail:

By the time you’re done reading Mark’s blog post, you’ll know how important it is to develop influence to climb all the way to the top of the ladder.

Would you like some hands-on strategies for building influence to become a more effective leader? Get more practical tips on leadership development now.

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