Whether you are the CEO or a general employee in a business having influence means that you have power. With this power comes great responsibility as it can be used in both a negative and a positive way. How can you harness this power to create a work environment where everyone thrives to be the best they can be? How can you become that influencer?
What is an influencer?
An influencer is a person who people listen to. They are people who are willing to share their knowledge and help others to reach their potential. There are various ways that people can be influenced. Here are five main styles for influencing people.
- Rationalizing: using facts and logic to give your ideas
- Asserting: stating your preference clearly and applying pressure.
- Negotiating: trying to find a common ground through compromise.
- Inspiring: influencing others through a shared goal or bigger picture.
- Bridging: building relationships with others.
People are generally strong in one of the styles and use this as the main way to influence those around them. Besides these styles there are other ways to build your influence in your workplace and industry.
Be present everywhere
Go to the social gatherings at work. Attend seminars and conferences. Make sure you are present at meetings. Have a good online presence. Write blog posts about topics which are important to your industry. Try to get into interviews, and podcasts where you can share your knowledge.
Trust is the ground on which influence is grown. If your co-workers trust you they will be more willing to be influenced by you. They will be open to listening to your suggestions. It is important to know that influence is carried out when someone performs a task through their own free will and not because they feel forced to do the task. To build trust you need to be open and honest. You need to state your opinions, your misgivings in a situation and don’t keep secrets. These will ensure that you will be well on your way to building trust.
Be reliable through consistency
It is important to act in a consistent way by always finishing your work on time and effectively. If you do this day by day, people will come to rely on you and your influence will grow. If you are in a low position in the company this will also show your dedication to your job. If you are inconsistent you will be considered unpredictable and opportunities within the company may pass you by.
Giving your opinion in a confident manner is important but be careful not to come across as arrogant or aggressive. You must believe in what you are saying and behave in a manner which reflects your belief in your opinion. If your opinion and behaviour differ you will lose the ground you need to be an influence on your peers.
While you should stand by your beliefs, it is important to have an open-mind and listen to other opinions. You need to be able to flex on issues which will not contradict your beliefs. By compromising on some matters you will build rapport with your fellow business partners.
Showing your personality at work can be a good thing. People will see that you are approachable and human. This is especially important when you hold a high position in a business. It is important to get to know your colleagues so that they will be more open to you when you share your ideas. If you create distance between you and your colleagues so that you can be in power, you will lose your opportunity to influence them.
Actions speak louder than words has never been more true than when it comes to being a influencer. You may be a very good speaker who can create great arguments or negotiations but if your actions don’t back up your words you will be at a loss. It is important that your actions and words match so that people can trust what you are saying and thereby your influence will increase.
Be a listener
In our society we are often encouraged to share our opinion before listening to what another person has to say. It is important to stop and actively listening to what someone is telling you. By practicing active listening, you will be able to understand the problem and ensure that you give an accurate solution.
Be a life-long student
It is important to continue to learn about your industry and read books about your industry and also motivational books to keep you going. By learning more about your industry you will grow your influence further than you had every hoped.
Becoming an influencer is not an overnight activity. It takes time and effort but in the end you will be well rewarded. Go out there and be the person you most admire.
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