Influence is crucial if you have ambitions to make a difference and to climb the ladder in your current career. However, acquiring it doesn’t come naturally to many people. The more influence you have, the better able you will be to manage others, to contribute to the direction of the business and to build a store of respect and appreciation. For most of us it means the difference between being ignored in a competitive environment and being heard. So, how do you begin building influence in your workplace?
Be a consistent presence
No matter what the role you currently hold, if you can demonstrate consistency in it then you are laying the foundations to having influence. People rely on consistency and they trust those who continuously adhere to the same standards and demonstrate commitment to the same principles and views. If you’re in a management position then being consistent will mean your team knows what to expect and it will give them unambiguous ways to progress and improve in your eyes. If you’re in a position lower down the ladder, consistency is the easiest way to show dedication.
Learn the difference between aggression and being assertive
It can be a struggle to get heard in a competitive modern workplace and attempts at being assertive often spill over into aggression. However, while being assertive means being confident in your views, ideas and expectations, if you go too far this could be perceived as aggression. It’s particularly important to consider your responses if others don’t listen – do you raise your voice, insist or bully? All of these fall on the wrong side of the aggressive vs. assertive divide. It’s also worth mentioning the importance of listening – although influence does depend on getting your voice heard, the process starts by learning to listen to others, believing in and supporting them as much as you expect them to do this for you.
Start to build trust with those you currently work with
You might be looking to establish a reputation with those higher up the corporate ladder but building influence begins with the people you’re working with right now. If your co-workers trust you then they are open to your influence – so start being a trustworthy and reliable coworker and build from there.
Actions speak louder than words
You might be the most eloquent person in the office but if you have no demonstrable proof of action to back up what you say then it will be difficult to begin building influence. This starts by following up on promises – if you say you will do something then do it – and consistently achieve good results. If you want to be more convincing then learn how to demonstrate the ideas you have rather than just talking about them.
Be a human being
People tend not to trust those who keep their personalities hidden so it’s difficult to build influence if you’re not being entirely yourself. This is particularly important as you move up through the levels of management – the more you try to distance yourself and “be the boss,” the less influence you’re likely to have.
Act as a positive force
There are many ways to bring positivity to your workplace and these tend to revolve around enhancing the experiences that others have. Stubborn and rigid coworkers are difficult to deal with, for example, whereas those who are flexible and willing to be open to change are much more likely to be valued.
Begin to develop influence in your workplace with our Influencing Skills course. Book your place today, or give PTP a call to find out more.