Tag Archives: assertive

How To Use Your Influence to Achieve Success

ThinkstockPhotos-539453722As the new year begins, many people will reassess their goals for success. To do that, most will lean toward using their influence to achieve success and realize their dreams and goals.

One powerful way to build success in life, both professionally and personally, is through influence. Influence is power, and gaining more influence in the workplace is critical in moving your career forward.

But how can you achieve quantifiable influence? Several strategies can be used to harness this skill and use influence to create success.

Create Trust

Trust creates and carries influence, and gaining the trust of co-workers is one of the fastest ways to use that impact to help cultivate success. Regardless of your position in the company or the position of your co-workers, being open and honest, no matter what the situation, builds a sense of trust.

Leaders who share their concerns, don’t keep secrets, give credit where credit is due, and admit mistakes build influence by being regarded as trustworthy workers.

Learn to Be Assertive

Being assertive enough to speak up during meetings or sharing ideas is another way to build influence and achieve success. However, being assertive and being aggressive are two different things.

To be assertive, present your thoughts and ideas with conviction and confidence. When you go too far with confidence, however, it can be taken as arrogance. When speaking with an unfamiliar group or on areas outside your expertise, be careful to temper your assertiveness with some humility.

Don’t be afraid to apply assertiveness to all areas of life, not just work. As long as conviction and knowledge are present, being assertive can create a reputation of authority, which builds your influence with peers, employees, and customers.

Consistency is Key

Those with influence generally also have the reputation of being consistent as well. Consistency translates to being reliable, and inconsistency is a sure way to ruin a reputation. This means you are known for executing tasks effectively and on time, every day, developing a reputation of reliability.

Consistency is invaluable when it comes to building influence. People flock to those who are known for a good work ethic, while unpredictability can scare and worry those in decision-making positions.

Stay Flexible

Although being assertive is vital to using influence to achieve success, have an open mind to other people’s ideas and be willing to change your opinion when presented with new or different evidence.

Being too stringent or stubborn can create a reputation of being immovable or hard to work with. Others want their opinions and ideas heard as well, and those who are not flexible or open to others’ thoughts lose their overall influence and the respect of co-workers.

Show flexibility while still holding on to core beliefs through calm negotiation or compromise. Work with others to find a mutually acceptable solution. This increases influence because if others perceive someone as being open and flexible to new ideas, they, too, become more open and flexible.

Get a Little Personal

For those in a leadership role, being perceived as easy to get along with and personable goes a long way. Those who isolate themselves or who do not share personal ideas can be perceived as stand-offish or as unapproachable.

Influence, at its heart, is based on others’ reactions and opinions. Influence based on fear or loathing creates a toxic atmosphere, but influence based on likeability and trust is conducive to a successful and collaborative environment.

Personal exchanges with employees and coworkers will help them relate better and feel more comfortable when discussing a new idea. This does not mean building lifelong friendships or betraying secrets, but if other people see an influencer as an approachable person on the team with a real personality, they are likely to be more receptive to constructive criticism.

To be successful this year—whether it’s raising capital, convincing others to support a cause or having more responsibility—influence will be at the center to achieving success. Influence based on trust, consistency, assertiveness, flexibility, and personality will positively steer relationships, careers or resources in the right direction.

Gain influence, and people will follow.

Advance Your Career Without Being a Jerk

Climb the corporate Ladder without being a jerkWe’ve all heard the saying, “Nice guys finish last.” It’s a common phrase, but it seems to fly in the face of all proper etiquette when dealing with others. Being respectful, kind, and generous are usually key soft skills that employers look for when looking for job candidates or finding someone to promote into management.

Some of you might know what it’s like to be the nice guy. You respectfully do what you’re told, but that guy, who is being loud mouthed and demanding, gets all the attention and opportunities. The good news is that the office jerk doesn’t always get the prize. Here are some ways you can take comfort in knowing that nice guys can make it to the top.

It’s a Pain to Maintain
The office jerks often seem like they are always getting the opportunities because at first glance, they convey in a group setting that they have the most power. A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that the more discourteous someone acts, the more others believe that the offender has power. Naturally, this person’s status is elevated and becomes a prime candidate for promotion or leadership.

The problem is leadership with that kind of behavior is unsustainable. These people tend to focus more on their ego than their team members, which will hinder performance and cause employers to question their leadership. If given enough time, they might job hop at the drop of a hat to another employer that hasn’t seen through the self-promotion and noise to see the jerk as he really is. They may climb the corporate ladder quicker, but they don’t stay there very long.

Assertive Not Aggressive
The biggest problem that the workplace nice guys face is that they can be so courteous that they become passive. They are concerned that if they assert themselves others will think of their behavior as aggressive, but assertiveness is that happy medium between being passive and being aggressive.

Being assertive is a matter of finding that balance of speaking up when you have an idea or opinion while respecting others who are already talking, disagreeing with requests if they are unreasonable, offering suggestions to compromise, and asking for favors and help without demanding it.

If you’re unsure where that line is, ask your manager or mentor to observe your behavior and alert you when you do things too passively or aggressively. You’re demonstrating a desire to improve your leadership and soft skills, which will already place you in a promotable position.

Integrity is Key
Generally, the most common thing the workplace nice guys have going for them is their integrity – they will do what they promised. The common trait most employers look for, other than the specific skills needed for the job, is integrity. Listening, understanding, and recognizing others are all traits that fall under that reliability. It builds trust with your management, and when you’re a little more assertive when letting your boss know about all that you’ve done, you’ll be a prime candidate when opportunity knocks.

How do you feel about the Workplace Nice Guy? Do you think it’s true that only jerks get ahead in the workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.