What does “idealized influence” mean? And why is this important for leaders? Leaders play a significant role in the lives of their workforce. Transformational leaders can affect the trajectory of an individual’s professional and personal life. There are many people who have profoundly influenced my thinking and decision-making throughout my career and personal history. The majority occupied a leadership position with a past employer or a client that I have been fortunate to get to know well. Others have been role models, or individuals that I greatly admired outside of work. They all had one trait in common: The capacity to inspire me to take a positive step to improve myself or take a particular course of action. The degree to which a leader is able to affect people and create a desire in others to willingly change is directly related to their character.