As a speaker and leadership coach, my passion and purpose in life is to help leaders to embrace the future of work, and leverage their influence to create positive lasting change.
If you’re a leader of people in your organization, and you likely are – even if you don’t have people reporting to you on an organization chart – your role provides huge opportunities for you to step up and drive business growth in your organization.
In other words, your team needs you! And they need you to share your ideas and expertise in order to successfully navigate the challenges that lie ahead.
It’s one thing to have ideas – and frankly, lots of people have ideas – but the only way that your ideas will actually be heard, and ultimately implemented, is if you have done the necessary work ahead of time to build your influence.
3 do’s and 3 don’ts to increase your influence
Do – Have an opinion
Want your opinion to be sought after and valued? Then you have to offer it.
Share your ideas and unique perspectives on situations encountered by the business. Be decisive, but invite and consider ideas and opinions from others.
Do – Develop your network and personal brand
One of the best ways to be seen as influential inside your organization is to be viewed as influential outside of it.
Build your reputation as someone who is well-connected, sought out by others, and who represents your profession and your company well.
Do – Always bring data
Do your homework and demonstrate your expertise by evaluating what’s happening in the marketplace, within your industry, and with your competitors.
Use that information to inform decisions, and always make a connection between your ideas, proposals, and recommendations to the bottom-line.
Don’t – Hide behind policies and laws
One of the quickest paths to being perceived as someone with little influence is to try to force compliance, or to put obstacles in someone’s path by quoting policies or laws – which is the corporate-speak equivalent of “because I said so.”
Help others to understand the intentions and implications of the rules, and work to identify solutions that incorporate them.
Don’t – Take conflict personally
If you’ve ever looked for a quote from The Godfather that you can apply to work, here it is: “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”
Conflict can be a good thing on the path to the best ideas and solutions – but only if it’s healthy.
Hold up your part of that deal by listening when others criticize your ideas or disagree with your recommendations, and provide constructive feedback to others when you disagree or don’t understand.
Don’t – Wait to be told what to do
Have you ever found yourself saying, “Nobody asked me!” If so, that’s a problem – and it’s your problem, not theirs.
Be vigilant and seek to understand any challenges or opportunities that are facing the business, and identify how you and your team can best help the organization to deliver upon strategic objectives. If you want to be heard, don’t wait to take action.
Want to increase your influence?
If you want to be the one providing leadership on your team’s path to success, focus on building relationships and influence now with key leaders in your organization, in your industry, and in your profession.
By increasing your influence, you’ll be able to get your ideas heard.
About the author
Jennifer McClure is a professional speaker and high performance coach who works with leaders to leverage their influence, increase their impact, and accelerate results.
Frequently recognized as a global influencer and expert on the future of work, strategic leadership, and innovative people strategies, Jennifer has decades of in-the-trenches leadership and executive experience. She’s also the Chief Excitement Officer of DisruptHR, a global community designed to move the collective thinking forward when it comes to talent in the workplace. She also hosts a weekly podcast – Impact Makers with Jennifer McClure – for leaders who are changing the world while building careers that they love, and living lives that matter.
Contents of this article remain the property of the author and/or publisher.