Tag Archives: influence

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.

3 Ways to Build Influence

Influence_July2013_webWhen considering change and development in your career, it’s important to factor in your sphere of influence. Before you can impact a decision or bring forth an idea, you’ll need to establish a respected and involved in the process. To help define your place, it’s important to take proactive steps to develop your relationships, skills, and knowledge. Your sphere of influence is your ability to impact decisions and actions. It’s about being trusted, respected, and having a say in the decision making process.  So, here are three ways you can build influence.

Be Reliable
Your ability to influence a conversation or decision begins with trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to be reliable. This includes being on time, avoiding gossip, being honest, and being consistent. Respect is earned over time and you can gain that by consistently taking care of your workplace tasks well.

Be Knowledgeable
This can be the most fun and interesting part of building your influence. Staying on top of industry trends, changes in market conditions, and technology developments in your field can lead to some great opportunities to build your influence. Make sure you’re aware of current events, legal changes that may impact your business, and your company’s current progress on its goals. By sharing what you’ve learned with your manager or applying your knowledge to your projects, you’ll demonstrate your desire to add value to the business and develop your skills.

Be Connected
Your relationships at work with your vendors, and in your professional community not only create opportunities for you, but are an asset in your sphere of influence. Make sure you’re building a network within your company. If your manager can rely on you to complete a requisition form in a short deadline or process a large shipping order because you’ve built relationships outside of your department, your ability to connect and collaborate will no doubt be an asset to the company. Additionally, by having relationships in your community, you may be able to contribute to sales development for your company. The value of connections with others is not to be underestimated.

In regards to the ideas here, how do you work to demonstrate reliability, and stay knowledgeable and connected? Share in the comments section below your personal tips for developing influence.

Sharing Your Knowledge When No One Wants to Hear it

New employee sharing knowledge to a hostile crowdOne 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.
Build 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?