To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others, nor do you always have a formal position. So, what’s the best way to position yourself as an informal leader? How do you motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas? How can you become a go-to person that others look to for guidance and expert advice?
What the Experts Say
Having influence in the workplace has “clear value,” says Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You. “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.” But gaining influence in the modern workplace is difficult, according to Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues. “It’s never been harder to influence others, because they’ve never been more distracted,” he says. “Information overload and the pace of our digital lives have [led to short attention spans].” And yet, “it’s more important than ever to be able to command influence, because of the increased pressure on getting results.” It all comes down to your approach. Here are some tips.
It’s not quite a junior high school popularity contest, but “at a fundamental level, one of the reasons that people do things for you” — support your idea, or approve your budget — “is because they like you,” Clark says. You don’t have to be “the awesome-est person in the room” or make sure “everyone is blown away by your charisma.” You just need to have good rapport with your colleagues. This won’t translate directly into influence, of course, but it does “make it more likely that others will at least hear you out.” So, work on cultivating personal connections with your colleagues, and allow them to get to know you. “That way, they won’t impute negative intentions or motives to you.” READ MORE.
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