Could you benefit from having more influence for a greater impact at work?
Do you feel that you’re not always listened to? Or even heard?
It’s not always easy to know how to influence others, especially when they’re in positions of authority or seemingly have more experience or seniority than you do.
Below, I share a few things that I believe could really help. These are simple, yet effective, ways that you can learn to increase influence, resulting in greater impact in your work.
But before we delve into this, let’s look at why this is important.
Why the need to increase influence?
Influence is an important skill to master as there are typically other people involved in most situations: our boss, senior management, colleagues, peers, customers, and suppliers. Few of us truly operate in a vacuum.
Whether we like it or not, influence is often a powerful and necessary tool in organisational life.
We can use influence to help us successfully perform our tasks and achieve our goals. It can also help us our views get heard as well as expanding our leadership impact.
But it’s not always all about us. We can also use our influence to help build others up or to support a worthy cause.
Who are we trying to influence and why?
It’s important to give this some thought in order to know where you focus our energies.
We may have multiple stakeholders that we’re trying to influence – in the same or different ways. This could in fact be part of the challenge!
Start by picking one and work through these questions to get a better sense of where you are right now and where you may need to focus.
Who am I trying to influence?
What is the impact I’m trying to have?
What kind of influence do I already have?
How am I using this today?
What challenges do I face?
You may want to talk this through with your manager or a trusted colleague to validate it.
Once you’ve evaluated, let’s look at how to increase your influence.
4 ways to increase influence
Pay attention to these to help increase your influence at work.
Circle of Influence
Hopefully you’ve been through the questions above, but let’s sense check to ensure that we’re focusing our efforts on the right things.
“Truly effective people who expand their influence live a life focused on things that they can change—their circle of influence—and not things they have no power over – their circle of concern.” – Stephen R. Covey
The bottom line here is make sure you’re spending time on the importance things that you can influence and that can make an impact. If not, you could be wasting a lot of effort and not getting anywhere fast.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) can be hugely importance in terms of tuning into the people we’re trying to influence.
In case you’re not already familiar with it, EQ refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions.
This starts with us. We need to start with some honest self-awareness: what makes us tick?, what makes us react? and how do we show up in the world?. Only once we’re aware of ourselves can we progress to self-management i.e. manging and regulating how we show up and respond in different situations.
Once we’ve got a handle on ourselves, we can turn our view to others around us. Specifically, our key stakeholders. This is known as social awareness. How do they react and respond? What are their key triggers etc. Finally, we can bring the pieces together within relationship management – i.e. how we interact with others.
If we’re not used to viewing ourselves and other through this lens it can take some adjustment, but our EQ can make a huge difference in our relationships and ultimately our influence.
We’ve all been communicating since the day we were born but that doesn’t always mean that we do it well. Effective (intentional) communication can increase our ability to influence others.
First and foremost, know your message and your audience. Be clear in what you’re trying to convey and understand who you’re communicating to and their needs. Furthermore, this may require active listening and adjustment in the moment to adapt and course correct if required.
Our voice and the language we use can also play a part in ensuring our communication is engaging and our message is heard.
There then are the physical elements that we’re all familiar with, but that we sometimes overlook: how we present ourselves, our
body language and facial expressions.
Let’s ensure that these are working for us and not against us.
Influencing for Impact
You could also attend my Influencing for Impact workshop to learn more about these techniques and so much more.
Influence is hugely important at work. But it’s not an all or nothing thing. we can learn to grow and cultivate our influence over time with different stakeholder or groups of stakeholders.
While much of it can sound like common sense, we don’t always remember to deploy all these things all of the time.
There is a lot to remember here – pick off a few key ones that resonate or that you feel could make a difference and try these first.
If you could do with someone to discuss this with, book in your Free Career Discussion.
Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.