Four Ways to Build Influential Connection


Intimidation requires position or perceived power but influence is a function of connection.

Distance and threat are the tools of bullies. Intimidators reach down from power towers and squeeze peons with fear.

Intimidators lose power when they connect. Leaders gain influence when they connect.

Influence answers fear and draws near.


Connection requires transparency. Humble leaders become one-of not one-above by sharing their journey. Common failures, successes, struggles, and growth build and enhance connection.

The downside of transparency is minimizing another’s journey. “I know what you mean. I used to feel that way.”

The upside of transparency is confirmation and affirmation. “We’re in this together.”

But, transparency isn’t enough.


Transparency without candor is feeling warm with your head in the sand.

Transparency is about you.
Candor is about them.

Permission to address tough issues stands on transparency.

Transparency is tender.
Candor is tough.

Together, candor and transparency are like sweet and sour, balanced and delicious.

But you need more.


Candor without kindness is cruel. Kindness makes candor safe.

Kindness is:

  1. Quiet.
  2. Aware.
  3. Patient.

Kindness makes room for others by choosing “we” over “me.”

Candor with kindness is strength and bravery. Candor without kindness is weak and cowardly.

Kindness generates loyalty.

My Dentist is quiet, aware, and patient. I feel safe in the chair, even though I may not enjoy it. I’m sticking with him.

The final ingredient.


Courage to believe better is possible gives meaning to transparency, candor, and kindness. Give up and go home if things can’t get better.

Influential leaders always migrate from dark to light. Pessimism can’t lead.

Optimism sees a path.

Pessimism justifies itself by pointing out problems, obstacles, and barriers. Optimism clears the path and steps forward even if destinations are over the hill.

Bonus: Transparency, candor, kindness, and optimism guide tough conversations.

What are the qualities of leaders who increase influence through connection?