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Olin Business School

Leading Through Influence

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Exercising real leadership and leading positive change requires more than just a worthy goal or a good idea. It also requires the skill of informal leadership: the ability to influence people both within and outside your chain of command in order to gain support and overcome resistance. This session helps you understand and develop three key skills of informal leadership: navigating politics, understanding power and exercising influence.


  • Sources of organizational power
  • How informal networks affect your ability to get things done
  • Developing skill at interpersonal influence
  • Tools to diagnose the "influence" landscape in your organization
  • Using power responsibly


  • Understand why some people in your organization have more impact than others
  • Navigate the informal side of an organization in order to get things done and make change happen
  • Identify and read politically- charged situations
  • Evaluate your own influencing strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan for strengthening your skills

Who should attend

Individuals in mid-to upper-level management roles where informal influence across and within groups or departments becomes critical. Individuals moving from technical roles into project lead or management roles.


Professor Bunderson is co-director of the Bauer Leadership Center and the George and Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics and Governance at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also an honorary professor with the faculty of economics and business at the ...