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Extraordinary Influence: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others

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The age-old question for every leaderhow do we bring out the best in those we lead? Anyone who has run a company, raised a family, lead an army, or coached a team struggles to find the key to help others excel and realize their potential. It is surprising how often we resort to criticism vs. an approach that actually results in a better worker and a better person.

What if we could speak Words of Life that transform those under our influence and ignite fires of intrinsic motivation? What if those we lead found great purpose in what they do and worked at their jobs with all their heart? Isn't that what leaders, parents and teachers really want? Ultimately, don't we hope to foster intrinsic motivation so that the individuals we lead become better employees, better students or better athletes? Recent discoveries of brain science and the wisdom of top CEO's that Dr. Tim Irwin interviewed for this book give us the answers we've long sought.

In most organizations, the methods used to provide feedback to employees such as performance appraisal or multi-rater feedback systems, in fact, accomplish the exact opposite of what we intend. We inadvertently speak Words of Death. Brain science tells us that these methods tend to engage a natural negativity bias that is hardwired in us all.

Science in recent years discovered that affirmation sets in motion huge positive changes in the brain. It releases certain neuro chemicals associated with well-being and higher performance. Amazingly, criticism creates just the opposite neural reaction. The most primitive part of the brain goes into hyper defense mode, compromising our performance, torpedoing our motivation and limiting access to our higher-order strengths.

How do we redirect employees who are out-of-line without engaging our natural negativity bias? Leaders must forever ban the term, Constructive Criticism. Brain science tells us that we can establish a connection between the employee's work and his or her aspirations. This book calls for a new approach to align workers with an organization's mission, strategy and goals, called Alliance Feedback.


Tim Irwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and leading authority on leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and executive selection. For more than twenty years, he has consulted with many of America's most well-respected organizations and top Fortune 100 companies.

Tim's past work has been featured on Fox News, Fox Business, Investors Business Daily, Wall Street Journal, and others. He has served in a senior management post for a US-based company with more than three hundred offices worldwide. Presently, he is managing partner of IrwinInc., based in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more about Tim, visit


Praise for Extraordinary Influence

"Leadership is a people game and in Extraordinary Influence, Tim Irwin outlines a powerful approach to motivating others. Importantly, if each of us practiced his recommendations, it would transform the cultures of our families, businesses, and world, through a new civility and an environment where more people can flourish."
Stephen Quinn, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (20052016), Walmart Stores, Chairman, Alliance for Family Entertainment/SeeHer (Current)

"Tim Irwin's deep, thoughtful book shows us the key to sustaining peak performance in organizations by motivating people to extraordinary performance through affirmation, inspiration, and positive influence you can be for others."
Bill George, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, former Chair and CEO of Medtronic and author of Discover Your True North

"I really love this bookthe stories are engagingthe advice is very concrete and actionable. It reads fastwith high impact. Nicely done!"
Cheryl A. Bachelder, Former CEO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., author of Dare to Serve: How to drive superior results by serving others

"As a driven, type-A kind of guy, I far too seldom slow down and affirm truly affirm my team and people. Tim's cogent reminders and approaches are great ways to help me and you get the best from your people and organization."
Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware

"What organizational leader, teacher, coach, and parent doesn't want to unleash the extraordinary potential of the employees, students, players and children under their influence? Tim Irwin brilliantly unpacks this question with facts and fun that will transform those we love and serve."
Tommy Spaulding, New York Times bestselling author of The Heart-Led Leader and It's Not Just Who You Know

"Tim Irwin's new book explains why so many of our interactions in the corporate world (not to mention in our personal relationships) do not accomplish what we intend. I was reminded that intentions are not visible and Tim's remedy for all of us is relatively simple, but it will take intentionality. His concept of 'Alliance Feedback' could provide a huge breakthrough for our corporate cultures. Tim makes bringing out the best in others a clear mandate and makes it simply and accessiblewith very clear guidelines on how we do this. I would move this book to the top of your stack!"
Mark Nelson, Corporate Vice President, Midstream, Strategy, and Policy, Chevron Corporation

"We all have people in our livesoften people for whom we are responsiblewho have a great need for change. But how do we help them see it and even more to effectively make those changes? Tim Irwin's new book will drastically change your understanding of how to help people change! His concept of 'Alliance Feedback' will not only alter the way you do performance reviews, but it will change family and friend relationships. Get the book and use it."
Tim Keller, Pastor Emeritus, Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York City