5 tips to be influential at your workplace!
- January 29, 2022
- Business & Tech
Influence is power. No matter who you are, where you work, or what your professional goals are, achieving more influence in the workplace is critical for success. If you want to be an effective leader or manager, you need to be able to influence people. It’s not enough to say ‘I’m the boss’ and expect people to do as you say. You need to take other steps to get your colleagues to support your ideas, and to be more respected, appreciated and acknowledged in the workplace. No matter how brilliant or hard-working you are, you cannot succeed without the help and cooperation from others.
But you don’t have to be in a leadership position to build influence among your peers and superiors. In fact, there’s a distinct difference between having power and influence.
So, what’s the best way to position yourself as an informal leader? How do you motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas? How can you become a go-to person that others look to for guidance and expert advice?
Whether you’re a leader now or you hope to become one, you’ll benefit from these 5 tips to be influential at your workplace and beyond.
Build connections and trust with your coworkers
At a fundamental level, one of the reasons that people do things for you is because they like you. Having good rapport with your colleagues won’t translate directly into influence, of course, but it will make it more likely that others will at least hear you out. Regardless of your position in comparison to the positions of your co-workers, if you want a healthy and influential working relationship, you’re going to have to cultivate trust. Only when a co-worker trusts you will he or she be open to your influence. The easiest way to build trust is to be open and honest, no matter what. State your opinions, disclose your apprehensions, and don’t keep secrets. It’s as simple as that.
A strong influencer is able to create partnerships across all business units, thereby developing a wider base of support and cooperation. When you develop these strong relationships, you’ll help the whole organization to function more effectively—and you’ll be seen as someone who guides others in developing relationships that benefit the whole group.
So, work on cultivating personal connections with your colleagues, and allow them to get to know you.
Listen, and communicate more effectively
The best way to get people to support you or your agenda is to make them feel heard. Start by giving them your undivided attention in one-on-one situations. A big part of workplace resentment is people feeling disrespected and that their voices aren’t being heard. So, ask colleagues for their perspectives and advice. You have to ask questions as often as you make statements. Whether you’re explaining a detailed workflow to somebody and you want some insight into their skill level, or you’re making company changes in the name of productivity, make your presence synonymous with inquiry and dialogue.
The more you listen to people’s ideas and demonstrate that you believe in them, the more people will value your ideas and opinions; it’s a two-way street. This shows that you respect people and it builds mutual trust. If people feel they are being heard, they are much more likely to view you as a true leader. If people think they aren’t being heard, there’s no faster way to spread resentment.
Building your influence might well live and die according to your communication style and listening abilities.
Educate yourself and stay updated on new developments
Another way to increase your influence at work is to be seen as an expert within your industry or organization. This won’t happen overnight, but you can take steps to develop business-critical expertise and knowhow. Immerse yourself in your topic area by regularly attending industry conferences, enrolling in a class or specialized certification program, or taking on a leadership role in a relevant professional organization. Stay up-to-date and informed. Don’t keep your knowledge under wraps. Blogging about your subject on LinkedIn or your company website is another way to show what you know.
Remember that gaining influence in the workplace is not about getting people to do what you tell them, it’s about becoming more effective and respected.
Stand up straight and put a smile on that face!
Maintaining mindfulness of your posture, whether standing, sitting or walking, is about 40 percent of the work involved in shaping your body and staving off the damage of sedentary life. But good posture is about more than your physical and inner strength too — it’s also one of the outside world’s first indications, for better or worse, of your general confidence.
If you’re not confident enough yet…fake it till you make it!
Even when the boss is harassing you, your co-workers are not going along with the program, the computer crashes, wiping all your hard work, simply fake a smile! By smiling we release endorphins and smiling has a tendency to ease bodily tension, so flash those pearly whites! We all know how painful it is to smile in anything but a candid photo, so the goal isn’t to stalk the halls grinning like a demon. The goal is to make the whole of your personality more warm and welcoming. It means being readier with a smile — not smiling relentlessly. You’ll find it catches on — and it’ll make you look easier to talk to.
Be consistent yet flexible
Your level of consistency manifests most obviously in whether or not you keep your promises and stick to your commitments. Arriving when you say you’re going to, leaving nothing to chance, being consistently open and communicative and nailing deadlines are all ways you can practice consistency. Be someone others can rely on. Consistency is an important part of reliability. When people don’t feel that they can count on you to deliver or be on time, they won’t trust you with other important tasks. Instead, make yourself indispensable to meeting company goals by being trustworthy and reliable.
Consistency is vital for building influence. Otherwise, you’ll have an air of unpredictability about you, and people won’t know whether to trust or impugn your suggestions. If you’re consistently motivated by the same principles, people will trust that your ideas are solid and reliable as an extension, and that will make it easier to get people on your side. Consistency is especially important when you’re in a lower position, since it demonstrates a degree of dedication.
However, being too rigid in your beliefs can work against you. Part of having an opinion and listening to others is being willing to bend or compromise. If the group doesn’t agree with your stance, be comfortable agreeing and moving forward with another plan. When someone above you makes a good-natured request that costs you little, be flexible and help them out. The same goes if you’re a leader: Give a little ground wherever and whenever you can afford to. Help others — and yourself — cultivate a more accommodating nature.
You don’t have to be a C-suite executive to have influence at work, and there’s no better time than the present to start building your stature in the workplace. Use these tips to build influence and reap the benefits of a more cohesive, effective team.
Keep these tips in mind and consider them a starter kit for boosting your influence, whether you already manage a team or company or you’re climbing the ladder.
Influence is an extraordinary asset in the professional world, but remember, your goal here should be to become more respected in the workplace, not to increase the likelihood of getting others to do your bidding. One is a respectable journey to greater prominence and productivity, while the other is simply a Machiavellian power trip.
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