Ascendancy: Leading by Influence

Do you consider yourself an influencer? Maybe you’ve read Dale Carnegie’s classic sales book How to Win Friends and Influence People, but do you fully understand what type of influence you actually have on others? A study found that individuals have about 1,500 interactions on a given day and are expected to have nearly 5,000 interactions per day by 2025. How we interact with others directly impacts our influence as leaders. Whether you realize it or not, you are practicing influence on others every day.

According to MHS, a peer reviewed assessment organization, influence is divided into two types of influence orientation: Advocating and Uniting. Advocating leaders push ideas forward, offering logical reasons to convince others, while uniting individuals encourage others to their point of view by focusing on a shared mission.

The Five Most Common Styles of Influence

There are five separate styles people use to influence others: Rationalizing, Asserting, Negotiating, Inspiring, and Bridging. Everyone leans toward one style, so to best understand what type of influence you gravitate toward, it’s important to fully understand the different styles.


Individuals who tend to use data-driven reasoning to persuade others are considered the rationalizing type. This person enjoys seeing situations objectively, expecting others to do the same. They feel that facts speak for themselves and are extremely logical in their analysis. The power of influence is seen in statistics and facts.

Influencing others: “According to the data … Experts say … Logically, I came to this outcome by analyzing the facts …”


Those who use the asserting type of influence tend to push their ideas forward by positioning themselves as an assertive, insistent leader. The power is on the individual to propagate their views or ideas onto others.

Influencing others: “My way is obviously the best because … Your idea is wrong due to … This is the only way to see this …”


Leaders who use the negotiating type of influence believe the best way is to come to a solution that everyone agrees on. They influence others by bringing their employee’s ideas alongside their own. This leader sees the power in the resolution, compromise, and concession.

Influencing others: “Let’s look at a different way of doing this … What can we all agree on … How does this work for all parties …”


Similar to the asserting style, this type needs a strong leader. Yet while the former uses the push technique, inspiring leaders pull others to an idea or outcome. This individual uses personal power to encourage and excite others to come to their side of an argument, making their case the most attractive and positive outcome.

Influencing others: “Imagine how amazing this would be if … We are an incredible team when we … What if this could be the difference … “


Those who use this technique tend to believe in the power of relationships. Using empathy and understanding, this leader attempts to bridge all sides by appealing to everyone’s shared common values, beliefs, and desires.

Influencing others: “I understand how you feel … We all have delt with an issue like this … I remember when you used to say this … How can I better understand …”

Understanding Your Orientation and Influencing Style

Whether you tend to lean toward more of an advocating or uniting orientation, all styles of influence may be used interchangeably given the situation. If you are more of an empathetic, bridging type, sometimes you will need to use the Rationalizing style to get your point across. However, individuals who are more of the Asserting type may need to tap into the Inspiring style to help employees understand the “why” behind the “what” you are trying to accomplish. First, understand your default setting, then explore more ways to practice your ascendancy within your organization.

What type of influencer are you? How have you tried to use different types to lead others? Let us know in the comments section below!

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