If you’re a leader of people in your organization, I’ve got great news for you!
You’re in the best position possible to drive business growth, and to create positive and meaningful change in your organization, as well as in the lives of the people that you lead and serve.
In other words, your team needs you, and they need you to share your ideas and expertise in order to grow and successfully navigate the challenges that lie ahead.
However, it’s one thing to have ideas – because everybody has ideas – but the only way that your ideas will actually be heard, and ultimately implemented, is if you’ve done the necessary work ahead of time to build your influence.
3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts To Increase Your Influence
DO – Make decisions
Share your ideas and unique perspectives on situations encountered by your team members, and in your business. When appropriate, invite and consider ideas and opinions from others, but remember, as a leader, it’s important for you to be decisive.
It’s also important to remember that being decisive doesn’t necessarily mean that as the leader, you have to make all of the decisions. Sometimes, the best decision is to delegate, and sometimes the best decision is to provide a framework and permission where others are able to make decisions on their own. For example, this article in the MIT Sloan Management Review – Effective Leaders Decide About Deciding – shares a great framework for how leaders can help their teams make faster decisions.
DO – Develop your network and your Personal Brand
To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people.
How do you develop influence?
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/your company/your team well. Share your experience through mentoring and coaching others, volunteering with networking and professional groups, writing for industry and professional publications, and through regular posting on LinkedIn.
The most influential people are those that others want to be involved, because their experience, relationships, and ideas create impact.
DO – Always bring data
Do your homework and demonstrate your expertise by evaluating what’s happening in the global marketplace, within your industry, and among 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 “I just don’t want you to do that.”
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 wished for a quote from The Godfather that you can apply to work, here it is:
Conflict can be a good thing on the path to the best ideas and solutions – but only if it’s healthy. When healthy conflict is viewed as a benefit, it can open our eyes to new ideas, teach us to be better listeners, and lead to better solutions.
Increase your influence by ensuring that when conflict arises in the workplace, it’s healthy and positive. Listen when others criticize your ideas or disagree with your recommendations, ask thoughtful questions to better understand their point of view, 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 proactively 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.
As a keynote speaker and leadership coach, Jennifer McClure helps leaders to embrace the future of work, and to develop the skills necessary to lead their organizations and the people on their teams to take bold actions that positively impact business results.
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