There are only two kinds of leadership visible in an organisation. They are Positional Leadership (PL) and Influential Leadership (IL).


Every position in an organisation from C-Suit to assistant team leader has some inherent power and authority that comes along with the position. Every day people are promoted or hired into one of these positions, to which they gain some extent of influence, not because they are great leaders necessarily but because of the inherent power of the position.


Many people think of themselves as leaders just because they hold a title, but titles never made anyone a leader because leadership is not about the title or the position.
So what type of a leader are you?


Are you a positional leader or a non-positional leader – a leader of influence. If you banking on a title to lead, you’ve missed it and should the title come I assure you,  you still won’t be a leader. How many leaders with titles have failed us, why, leadership is not a title or a position.

Here’s another way to look at it, how did you feel when you were required to head up a project or a project task. Inadequate? all because you felt that you “don’t have the right title?” or “position?”

It’s unfortunate so many define leadership by everything but what it is not.

Consequently, it is possible that the person who holds a position is not a leader or even understand what it means to be an authentic leader.

Most people gain position due to competencies such as; skill, experience, talent, formal education without the knowledge of true leadership.


the power of influence each position holds including executive is just about 25-50%. People with actual leadership skills, occupying key positions can make a formidable difference in an organisation.

In today’s business world, every company has positional leaders and influential leaders. To be effective as an or organisation, it is important to assess where the companies leadership potential stands bearing in mind that leadership is not title or position.

As a leadership coach, my skill is to make PL aware of this leadership deficit. There are many advantageous reasons for this, for instance, increasing employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity.

Every company wants to toast to success, but success is highly dependent on the ratio of the number of Influential Leaders to the number of positional leaders. The greater the presence of IL in a company, the higher the chances of success and accomplishment is.



A Positional Leader vs. Influential Leader




Positional Leader:

Positional leadership is not only the lowest level; it’s the entry level of leadership.

Anyone can be appointed as a positional leadership. PL’s operate within the paradigm of their position or title. They do not look and think beyond the responsibilities of the position. They exhibit a stiff upper lip when required to do something beyond their title. They are focused on a job description, and upon their own goal and objectives rather than the overall business or organisational goal. They are the greatest hindrance to increase and productivity.

They rely on rules, regulations, policies, and organisational organograms to control their people.

People only follow them within the stated boundaries of their authority or position.

They get things done in the office because “I am the boss!” People follow them only because they have not to want to.

PL is a poor substitute for influence.
Influential Leader:

Influential leadership is not only the highest form but the most respected form of leadership.

IL’s are hired based on a clear job description but function way beyond their roles. I.L’s operate beyond the responsibilities of the position. Their work is boundaryless.

They are more focused on organisational and business growth, motivation and engagement of the workforce.

People work matter more to than paperwork. They use their positional power and authority as a last resort.






Positional Leader:

Positional leaders are not visionary.

PL are more focused on completeness of regular duties and responsibilities of their position, and safeguarding of their position from organisational politics, they challenge innovation, restructuring and change.

They operate the organisation through their positional power. When they do not have the positional power, they become powerless.

Influential Leader:

Influential Leaders are visionaries. They are not managing followers but innovative trail blazers.

They are not managing followers but innovative trail blazers. IL’s understand it is not enough to create an organisational vision, strategy and roadmap but invest their time fostering a culture of “vision buy-in” or ownership. You know you’ve achieved vision buy it when the 8 to 5 mindset flies out of the window, and your staff are willing to stay until the job gets done. IL’s relentless remind everyone about the importance of the future to develop sustained business success.

IL’s are a cut above the rest. The bottom line is as important as celebrating the success.  Productivity is important to them but not as important as the relationship.



Positional Leader:

They have subordinates, not team members.

Positional leaders are not employee centric. Their personal job security is more important than multiplying their department’s effectiveness. They do not recruit the best in class talents for the team, why? To safeguard their own position.

Most of the time, the team of a positional leader is mediocre, uninspired, resulting in a lower level of organisational performance and effectiveness. And in the case of the team producing a high output, the moral is usually very low.

PL’s tend to hire other people who look like them, who think like them. Resulting in an imbalance of the team’s chemistry. If everyone on the team is all good at the same thing, some are unnecessary.

A positional leader will never encourage their team members to increase knowledge through personal development to improve professional and personal qualities.

They do not believe on the philosophy of lifelong learning, and they do not like to grow the capabilities of their own team members either because of their positional mindset and pessimistic attitude.
They have reservations sharing their knowledge or experience for fear of being replaced by their subordinates.
Influential Leader:

Influential Leaders are very much employee centric.

They know the fact that ongoing personal development and individual/team coaching is the catalyst of top quality talents in the team, which improves overall organisational performance and effectiveness.

They think less of the titles and positions and more inline with how to grow the business by building a high-performance team. They always invest in employees’ education, professional and personal development. A real leader of influence creates and develops more leaders.

Because of their optimistic candid style and because of their people oriented attitude, they create many followers who eventually become leaders.





Positional Leader:

Positional leaders influence people through their positional power rather than personal leadership qualities.

They are not team-focused, collaborative, relationship oriented, or creative. Employees under positional leaders are demotivated, disengaged and hindered, who tend to leave promising organisations all because of bad leadership.
Influential Leader:

IL’s are focus, disciplined, self-driven, optimist, respectful, ethical, passionate, collaborative, creative, relationship oriented and harder worker. They lead by example, “Do as I do” not “Do as I say” is their motto. They are team players, approachable, accessible. The culture of the organisation is more open and approachable where everyone knows their roles and responsibilities well to achieve the organisational / business goal and objectives.





Positional Leader:

Positional leaders do not communicate information effectively.

They only communicate on a need to know basis. This results in many open questions, assumptions, doubts among employees and team members. A lack of communication effective communication hinders growth and trust.

Influential Leader:

I.L are excellent communicators.

They share information with their employees and team members unless it is highly confidential.

They understand the power of a welcoming, smile, or a “yes please,” or a ” may I.” Because of their open-minded communication, they gain the respect from employees.

Eventually, it helps them to influence the organisation and business more effectively towards a common vision and strategic objectives.
So what type of a leader are you?