Discover the Art of Influence
Get further by building your relationships.
Leadership = influence
You are sitting in a meeting and discussing a strategy. People argue about what to do and why. At some point, a meeting facilitator asks: “What do you think, Bob?” Voices get silent, and everyone looks at Bob. He has authority and credibility, and people trust his opinion is right.
Influence is not to be underestimated. Success depends on how you collaborate, connect, and build influence.
Do you feel others don’t listen to you? It might be time to invest in building your influence.
To affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks
To cause someone to change a behavior, belief, or opinion or to cause something to be changed
The power to have an effect on people or things, or someone or something having such power
Why should you build your influence?
Being a go-to person is not limited to your email signature. It shows you can collaborate with different teams in your organization. You have connections across the broader business community.
Others feel comfortable coming to you with questions and asking for help. You know. If you don’t, you know someone who does.
It begins with networking, progresses to relationship building, and culminates in a strong bond characterized by a high level of trust and respect, to the point where the person values your opinion over most others.
Influence helps your career. If you earn respect, people will respond positively to you and your ideas. No surprise your star is rising.
Nurture your relationships
Influence is an art. Your skills and knowledge matter a lot. But also your network and relationships.
Nurturing a network and relationships is essential. You can send a quick Slack message, have a virtual Teams coffee, send an email, or go for lunch. It is important to incorporate "keeping in touch" into your daily routine.
Some people hang out with work friends all the time. But you should think broadly. Who should be talked to strategically here and there? Manager of marketing when you are in sales? HR department if you want to secure a leadership course for your team? A former client who might buy from you again?
Do not depend only on your company. Keep relationships with former colleagues, contractors, and contacts from networking events. As you never know where the next opportunity comes up, and you can help each other.
Even writing on LinkedIn or professional forums about your expertise can expand your influence in the right way.
How do you increase your influence?
“Say/do ratio”: the more often you deliver on a promise, the more influence you will accrue.
It comes down to listening, helping, and building trust. Communication is vital. Be interested in what people have to say. Let them explain their point of view. Empathy is your friend.
Influence might feel abstract. Try a few practical techniques to strengthen your relationships.
The art of favors
Do you do favors? It could be small like checking someone’s pitch before sending it. People reciprocate. When you do something for them, they are likely to repay you.
If you pay for a cup of coffee, the other person will invite you next time. If you recommend someone for a position, they will do the same for you.
Do favors to show you care and mean it well. Yet, do not force people to do anything in return. Do not remind them, they will feel you just ‘played’ it.
For example, if you agree to create training materials and three months pass without you doing anything, your team will think you suck.
It is wiser to start small and build it up over time. Let’s say you suggest breaking the training down into three parts. Together with your team create a plan, and each member works on a specific task. Shared commitment brings everybody on board.
Eventually, you might be able to supervise the training process, but others will lead it instead of you.
Build a tribe
When you have an idea for improvement, you can’t implement it alone. You need another person to support you, then another one, and another, until you have a group.
Building allies is the key to increasing your influence. Find people with common interests. It is easier to influence others if you have supporters behind you.
Network like crazy
Do you sit at your desk ALONE all day? That is a mistake.
You need to take a coffee break even if you don’t drink coffee. Be at the center of the discussion. Push yourself to ask a lot of questions about what you hear. You notice what people struggle with, what they like or dislike, and you will understand how you can help them.
The strength of your network is your influence.
Join us and build your leadership skills.
Influence is not a one-time thing
Like leadership, you could say some people are natural while others need to learn it. And so what?
Influence can be learned. Consider it your most valuable investment. Take time every day to contact someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Get to know the stressed IT guy running around. Set up a virtual coffee chat with your HR department.
Get out there.
leadink monthly meeting is May 30th 5,30-6,30 PM (CET).
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Leadership Summer Camp has a workshop about building influence
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Increase Your Influence at Work by Rebecca Knight