Allan Golston On the Reciprocal Nature of Influence and Trust - Chief Influencer - Episode # 055

Allan Golston On the Reciprocal Nature of Influence and Trust - Chief Influencer - Episode # 055

Allan Golston is the President of the United States Program at The Gates Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to advancing educational opportunities and ensuring equitable academic and economic outcomes for all students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds and students of color. 

Allan's unique leadership approach hinges on the power of influence through reciprocity, authenticity, and storytelling. In today's episode, Allan delves into his career journey from public accounting to philanthropy, the importance of building trusted partnerships, the evolution of leadership styles, and leveraging digital platforms like LinkedIn for reciprocal influence. 

Stay tuned to gain valuable insights on balancing data-driven decision-making with personal storytelling to drive impactful change and the importance of creating authentic connections in both personal and professional spheres.

  • Treat leadership as a continuous practice, not a destination, and continuously strive for self-improvement. Allan Golston emphasizes that leadership is an ongoing process. He makes it a point to learn and grow each day, preparing to be even better the next day. This practice of self-reflection and ongoing improvement can help leaders stay dynamic, relevant, and effective.
  • Be authentic in your leadership and influence based on genuine interactions rather than projecting a persona. Early in his career, Golston found that employers expected employees to project a certain persona or dress a certain way as part of instilling confidence in clients. However, as his career evolved, he realized that authenticity became crucial for effective leadership as his responsibilities grew. Leaders should focus on genuine connections and interactions, which build trust and authenticity.
  • Embrace a two-way influence model. Listen and be open to being influenced while also trying to influence others. This influence needs to be reciprocal. Authentic listening and a willingness to be influenced are as important as trying to guide or direct others. This approach builds mutual respect and understanding.
  • To drive meaningful impact, deeply understand your audience. This is crucial for making informed and impactful decisions. Leaders must invest time learning about their internal and external teams and stakeholders and broader audiences to tailor their actions and communications effectively.
  • Aim to ensure equitable outcomes in your leadership practice and organizational goals. Leaders should prioritize creating inclusive environments and opportunities that benefit all, especially the underrepresented or marginalized groups.
  • Openly share your personal stories and learn from the stories of others. This practice fosters a deeper connection and understanding within the team, helping to build a cohesive and empathetic workplace culture.
  • Start interactions with personal concerns and show genuine interest in your team’s well-being. Instead of diving straight into work-related discussions, begin with personal conversations. Asking about someone's well-being or family circumstances shows empathy and builds a culture of care and support.

Quote of the Show:
  • “I fundamentally believe that influence has two key dimensions. Number one is that it has to be reciprocal. You have to be open to being influenced as much as you are trying to influence. The second is that you have to know when it’s best to influence directly or empower others to influence and carry the critical messages.” - Allan Golston


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Creators and Guests

Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop believes in the power of people-centered branding and marketing to create a bright future. He chairs the National Digital Roundtable, the premier convener of digital innovators, leaders and policy shapers. Anthony also is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, a digital services firm that helps companies and non-profits establish winning strategies with social media, websites, creative, and advertising. An enthusiastic presenter and teacher, he has led executive-level training for Amazon, PepsiCo, NASA, The British Embassy and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He has been recognized as an “OUTstanding LGBT Role Model” by The Financial Times, “40 Under 40” by The Washington Business Journal, and Business Leader of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. A former newspaper reporter, Anthony was the first new media professional elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Washington and LearnServe International. He earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches as an adjunct lecturer.
Robert Krueger
Robert Krueger
Robert is an Executive Director for The Communications Board, an organization with the mission of providing high-quality professional development for every communicator in every location. He is also the Global Lead for Partnership Communications at Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. Prior to his current role, he performed executive and CEO communications for Gensler, and was the senior director of public relations and social media at the Urban Land Institute. He obtained an MA in Communications and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, Robert has taught communications at universities including George Mason University, West Virginia University, and the University of Florida. Robert currently serves as Immediate-Past President for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) -- the nonprofit’s largest chapter.