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Voluntary Influence

One Definition of Leadership to Replace Them All

Forge a people strategy fueled by a culture of voluntary influence so fully engaged employees rise to 75% from today’s 34% within 5 years. This will boost end results and KPI’s.
Leadership is voluntary influence. Employee engagement, culture, strategy, speaker, speech, workshop, consultant

Leadership is Voluntary Influence

Leaders voluntarily influence people to join with them

That means people join with a leader because they want to, not because they have to.

When we make a firm commitment that everyone in management must lead through voluntary influence, we shift more control from management to employees. This eliminates a major underlying cause of unfulfilling jobs, burnout, and toxic workplaces. When we develop all employees as leaders, we expand the number of leaders in our company which helps improve quality, service and productivity.

All organizations can create workplaces where we want to spend time, be productive and make good things happen. 

When we define leadership only as voluntary influence and eliminate all the 4000 plus definitions in use, we create a new, higher standard about how we deal with people and who can be in management.

Leadership is about the person, not the position. 

When we separate leadership from positions and titles, everyone on planet earth now has the potential to be a leader and we stop calling people with management titles leaders.

Every employee a leader

What if your organization already excels in employee relations and the workplace?

Voluntary Influence and the thinking behind it opens up new ideas and perspectives on employee engagement, employee thriving, motivation, leadership, collaboration, retention and workplace culture that go beyond what even the best places to work focus on today. Regardless of your current culture and level of employee engagement, your management team can discover new ways to become even better when you learn about voluntary influence.

About

After co-writing and editing the book The Character-Based Leader in 2012, Don become concerned about the snail pace increase in employee engagement along with way too much burnout.

Leadership is voluntary influence. Employee engagement, culture, strategy, speaker, speech, workshop, consultant

Since the principal of Hollywood High put Don through three leadership development programs, he’s been on a quest to learn more about what makes people want to join with a leader.


In spite of ten of billions of dollars spent annually on leadership development, culture improvement, team building, and similar areas that affect how people deal with each other, Gallup’s global survey shows that fully engaged employees have only risen from 26% in 2000 to 34% in 2021.

Don sees today’s average employee engagement levels as a clear failure and voluntary influence as the first step to fully engage more employees.

Read about Don Shapiro’s leadership story and healthcare initiative

A new people strategy fueled by a culture of voluntary influence

When voluntary influence becomes the only definition of leadership, employee engagement and thriving soars.

  • We stop calling those with management titles leaders
  • Everyone with a management title leads through voluntary influence while the rest are shown the door.
  • We start developing all employees as leaders because you don’t need authority to use voluntary influence
  • Quality, service and productivity improve because you now have more hourly employees who are leading their peers
  • More future managers and high potentials are identified among hourly employees and staff
  • Leadership development is separated from management development so both the capacity to lead and ability to manage can be maximized
  • Control over work shifts from management more to employees increasing their motivation and commitment
  • Employee engagement and thriving soars fueled by a culture of voluntary influence along with employee retention, performance and financial results. 

Strategic Executive Workshops and Speeches

Don’s high energy, interactive, fun and educational style has inspired groups for decades.

Speech and Workshop Examples

Don Shapiro Workshop Excerpts

Strategic executive workshop on value, quality, service, and continuous improvement with Don’s signature stories. 7 minutes.

What Could She Possibly Be Thinking?

A funny and insightful true story about “Sting the Scorpion” presented at a Toastmasters International Speech Contest that emphasizes the importance of understanding others without judgement. 7 minutes. 

What people say about Don

Get in touch

Learn more by talking with Don on the phone, Zoom or whatever works for you
 

Ask questions, dive deeper into the issues, explore ways Don can further educate your team, evaluate committing to a voluntary influence strategy, and speak at your next meeting or conference