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Why “Influence” Is a Critical Aspect for Any Leader: My Reflections

Nyamweya is a columnist with a Kenyan print media.He is also a freelance writer with various online and offline media platforms

It is increasingly becoming a well-known fact that ‘influence is the new currency for success.’ This is especially true in this new social media era where several careers have taken off on the strength of social media influence alone, and a number of political careers have been elevated through the power and ubiquity of social media. Former American President Barack Obama, who used the Internet to orchestrate an unprecedented political campaign mainly using social media, is a prime example. As such, I am well aware that influence and leadership are intertwined, where one cannot exist without the other.

Amassing influence is, therefore, in my opinion, the surest way of achieving one’s leadership goals because, essentially, people can only be motivated to follow a person who possesses some degree of influence. It is with this knowledge in mind that I have therefore endeavored to build my influence over the years in order to develop into a leader within both my profession and my community. This has seen me take on various leadership responsibilities in school, at work, and in the community.

In high school, I held two main leadership responsibilities— I was both the Head Boy and Netball Captain at Kisii High School. Being a Head Boy is the highest leadership position one can attain as a secondary school student, and as you can well imagine, with it came a lot of weighty responsibilities. I was the overall leader of all prefects in the school and had to carefully use my influence to guide them towards exercising thoughtful and balanced leadership over the rest of the students. As the Netball Captain, I had to motivate my teammate’s towards achieving success in the various national and provincial competitions we would take part in. Even at the university, I found myself in a leadership role where I was tasked with heading the Fourth Year University Project Group.

Professionally, I have consistently exercised my leadership skills throughout my career. As the Branch Operations Supervisor at NIC Bank, I oversaw teller operations, back-office and customer service operations, and guided staff accordingly. In fact, in recognition of my leadership capabilities, I was rewarded with the ‘NIC Bank Branch Forex Champion’ award. These leadership roles have continued as I progress in my career at NIC and currently,I chair the NIC Securities Limited Welfare Committee.

Within the community, however, is where I have most enjoyed exerting my influence as a leader because it has helped me to contribute towards the betterment of society in my own little way. I am a Mentor at Nyabururu Girls High School, Kereri Girls High School, and the Equity Bank Wings to Fly Program. As a mentor, I have been able to guide young people in terms of professional and academic mentoring, as well as financial support especially with respect to sanitary towels and other school items. In addition, I currently work with the Uthiru Area Chief to support disadvantaged families by donating clothes, food, and some financial support.

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