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Influence is the process of persuasion. Whether we realize it or not, we use influencing skills all the time by our actions, words, and even by our presence, e.g., convincing our children to sleep at a certain time, convincing our partner to pick a certain holiday destination, convincing our bosses to approve our project, choosing to attend or miss a certain meeting. With organizational hierarchies becoming flat, the ability to influence without formal authority is an essential skill to succeed in the workplace. Dorie Clark, the author of ‘Entrepreneurial You’ says that with influence, you get more done, and you advance the projects you care about and are responsible for which means you’re more likely to be noticed, get promoted, and receive raises.
Successful influencing is about making a connection and appealing to the heart as well as the head. Here are a few things you can do to make this connection –
1. Listen actively –
Everyone wants to have a voice. Everyone wants their opinion to be heard, considered, and valued. Listening with intention and not just to reply means listening not only to what is said but what is left unsaid, paying attention to the body language and the tone. It signifies that you value their opinions. It is a great way to make them feel significant and show that you care.
2. Appreciate others-
Mary Kay Ash said, “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘make me feel important.” Everyone wants respect and significance, so take the time to recognize their contribution. If people feel valued and appreciated, they will allow themselves to be influenced.
3. Care genuinely –
Caring for others means being attentive to them, knowing their needs, being generous with your time and energy, asking what you can do for them, being interested in their well-being and success through words and actions, and being empathetic.
4. Understand others –
Understanding your stakeholders’ goals, concerns, perspectives, and priorities will help you tailor your approach to influence them. You will know what drives them and when to appeal to their logic or emotions to enlist their support.
5. Establish authority –
A proven way to increase influence is to be an expert in your area of work. Invest in yourself to be the best in what you do. Be aware of the latest developments, have a perspective, and do not hesitate to share it. To establish your authority, you can blog, write in your company newsletter, speak at conferences, or take a leadership role in relevant professional bodies.
6. Network strategically –
Expanding your network expands your influence. As a leader, you are empowered by your connections with others. It makes sense to continually grow and strengthen your network and be strategic about choosing how and when to tap into this network.
7. Take Lead –
Do not hesitate to raise your hand and accept responsibility for new projects or handling situations. Stand up for your values and for the culture of your organization, state your opinions, and set the energy and mood in meetings.
As you build your influence using these steps, you will find you can achieve your goals more easily, regardless of where they sit in an organization.
PS : If you are ready to embark on the journey of being a more impactful leader, we are happy to help. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org