How to raise your level of influence at work
By Nancy Nzalambi | October 6th 2019
Influence is power. It ultimately contributes to your impact at work. In order to be effective at the workplace today, you must be able to sway others and become a go-to person that colleagues look for expert advice. You have to commit to keep growing and learning. Invest in your own abilities to improve credibility.
Your title is not always enough to influence opinions and decisions. The ability to influence is a valuable asset. The author of Entrepreneurial You, Dorie Clark says that having influence in the workplace will get more work done and one is more likely to be noticed, get promoted and receive raises. Today’s work space is coupled distractions, among them, digitalisation and immense pressure for results. This makes it worthwhile to learn the art of command of influence to be able to motivate workmates to root for your initiatives and show enthusiasm to your ideas. Here is what you need to do.
1. Cultivate good rapport with colleagues
Be respectable. The best way to earn respect is by treating others — juniors and seniors — with respect. Allow your colleagues to know you. Make sure they are blown away by your charisma. Now, this does not have to be a popularity contest; it should be a deliberate effort to build personal connections with your workmates. When you relate well with colleagues, they are more likely to listen to you. If you need them to approve your budget or support your idea, they should have the conviction that you always deliver what you promise. Do your best in team activities. Let your strengths cover the weaknesses of others. Teamwork builds trust and trust stimulates growth.
2. Magnify your potential
Master the art of maneuvering through challenges and turn opportunities into wins. A series of small wins will build your profile and put your name out there. Everybody admires and wants to be associated with the winning team. Empower your colleagues by believing in them too. If you have a team assignment, listen to other opinions before you persuade them to adapt yours. Practice the discipline of focus by giving undivided attention to each person when approached for a consultation. Corporate experts say that resentment at the workplace is mostly because most people feel disrespected and their voices aren’t being heard. Most of us are too preoccupied running our to-do lists in our minds or reaching for our phones when colleagues voice their perspectives. Prime your colleagues to have your back by making them feel heard.
3. Develop expertise
Take steps to develop critical know how to be recognised as an expert in your industry. Expanding your knowledge takes legwork. Attend conferences, enroll in a specialised programme, become a leader in your professional organisation. These are visible signs that you’re working smart to stay informed and up to date. What are your most outstanding strengths and accolades? Narrow your focus by thoroughly understanding your specialisation. Find an area where your passion and talent cross paths and run with it. Showcase your knowledge in your area of work. Self-publish to put it out there that you know your stuff and have something to refer to when pitching yourself for better opportunities.
4. Strategise on “political intelligence”
Not everyone will dance to your tune no matter how good you have gotten in the influencers’ game. Do your homework and find out who might feel threatened by your plans. Network aggressively and find out who you can influence to influence them to come over to your side. Authentically present your ideas as having an ultimate benefit to the whole company and the people who might oppose you. Fundamentally self-centered proposals will dramatically fall. Critically analyse how to overcome obstacles. For instance, if you have to face the Chief Finance Officer, approach them with a convincing theory founded in logic, expertise and data. Show up and participate in strategic events; they are essential in positioning you to the next level of your career. In addition, invest in the success of your colleagues; work to bring out the personal best of each one of them. Remember, influence increases gradually, never instantaneous.
5. Identify your gaps
As you build your level of influence at work, you will realise that more responsibilities will be handed to you. You will be faced with more organisational and people challenges. You have to develop more self-awareness. You are grooming yourself for leadership; you must therefore learn to influence decisions and opinions without compromising ethics and standards of excellence. Do not be too much of a peoples’ pleaser.
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