One of the best ways you can grow as a leader and in your career is to share the knowledge you’ve gained with those around you, helping them grow as well. When starting a new job, though, it may not be that easy. Some co-workers, managers, and the work environment may not be open to the new person throwing around suggestions and nuggets of wisdom that could disrupt the status quo.
When your ideas go unnoticed and may seem unappreciated, it’s often very frustrating to feel like you have so much to offer that could help your organization grow or run more efficiently. While some companies are very open and encouraging of new, fresh ideas, some are more structured and require credibility before your voice is truly heard. The best way to get to that point is to gain influence.
By sharing knowledge from insights, academic learning, and past experience, you can help change opinion, but keep in mind that it’s not going to happen overnight. Building influence is like building a house, it takes time and continuous work. Start by not talking negatively without providing a solution to the problem. Honestly sympathize with others without joining their complaining and encourage listening to other points of view to fully understand their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. If you’re interested in learning more about influence, check out Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Here are some simple ways you can build your influence while sharing your knowledge.
Make it Their Idea
People are much more likely to agree to do something if they think it’s their idea. You can warm them up by leading them with questions that will prompt a “yes” answer. This will encourage a problem-solving attitude instead of a defensive one, which makes them more open to your idea.
In the case of making someone believe your idea was their own, provide a lead by sending an article that discusses the idea you had, and then ask the manager or co-worker what they think. Most of the time, offering advice can come off as competitive or abrasive. Casually asking others their opinions can help soften your statements.
Make it a Challenge
On the opposite end, some workplace cultures rely on competitiveness and sometimes you should use that to your advantage. Appeal to co-workers or supervisors by giving them a challenge. Having a fun competition between colleagues will give both of you a common goal and can give you the opportunity to bring your ideas to the surface.
Make Some Drama
Sometimes your idea has to have a certain “oomf” or zing to really get noticed and catch the attention of others. Look for ways to dramatize the idea to create excitement around adopting it. When you want to make a point, tell a story. It will stick long after the facts have been forgotten. That’s because a story or dramatization involves the listener or observer. Stories add their own experience and imagination to the story. It is a mutual activity that builds a bond between the story teller and the audience. Enticing someone to adopt your idea creates a far stronger commitment than compelling them.
Generating influence and creating a culture of sharing knowledge sometimes isn’t easy. There isn’t a three-step program that will get instant results, but if you follow these guidelines, give it some work, and have patience, you can earn your co-workers’ or manager’s willingness to learn from you. What are some ways you’ve shared what you know at work?