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Leadership Development

Motivate and Influence Others: What Leaders Can Learn From Salespeople

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Photo by Ramiro Mendes on Unsplash

Influence is about moving others to act

We are all in sales now. This is the core premise of “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” Daniel Pink’s 2012 book.

While rereading this book earlier this year, I was struck how much this concept is equally said about leading – we are all leading in some way now. Whether in selling or leading, we are essentially endeavoring to motivate and influence others to take purposeful action. And the correlations between Pink’s work and Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge are clear.

Influence and motivation are achieved according to Pink, Kouzes, and Posner through:

  • demonstrating positivity and vision
  • encouraging and enabling others towards goal-oriented action
  • experimenting and challenging the status quo
  • helping others through service and recognition of positive outcomes

Each of these actions ties back closely to The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, the foundation of The Leadership Challenge®: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.


Our collective work in learning and development very often requires us to influence and motivate others, whether it is influencing someone to pay attention in a workshop, adopt a project plan, or take a risk and try something new and innovative in the business. As influencers and leaders in our own right, it serves us to bring positive buoyancy, vision, enabling attitudes, and a willingness to celebrate both the big and small wins in the workplace.

As Pink writes in conclusion, “Among the things that distinguish our species from others is our combination of idealism and artistry – our desire both to improve the world and to provide that world with something it didn’t know was missing. Moving others doesn’t require that we neglect these nobler aspects of our nature. Today it demands that we embrace them.”

Kouzes and Posner echo this sentiment. Through The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® they challenge us to aspire to our own leadership greatness through deepened relationships and making a positive impact on the world for generations to come.

If sales and leadership are in fact interrelated, it is because they both invite us to motivate and influence others for the common good. A higher calling indeed.


Have you read a great book on leadership, teamwork, or coaching lately? We included this book on our list of 3 reads on coaching, leadership, and team effectiveness in January and we are always looking for more excellent reads, so leave us a recommendation!

Download an Overview of The Leadership Challenge

Tracy Puett

Tracy Puett is a past FlashPoint employee who's passionate about curriculum design, facilitation, and coaching.