Workers know that if they are to get ahead, they must command the influence and respect of the people around them. After all, companies are committees of peers. It is colleagues, not outside examiners, who determine whether a person rises through the ranks or not.
But becoming influential is a challenge. While some workers cultivate charisma and prestige, others fail to do so, and the reasons aren’t always clear.
This post explores how individuals should behave in the workplace to influence others. The higher their level of influence, the more they can get their ideas heard and the greater their chances of promotion.
Cultivate a sense of trust
Close and connected human relationships depend on trust. Colleagues need to have confidence that their teammates are going to deliver on the promises that they make. If that doesn’t happen, individual team members can lose respect rapidly.
Distrust of an individual is particularly damaging. If somebody becomes known as a person who others cannot trust, it ruins their reputation, and they may fail to progress at all.
The most consistent people are also celebrated and influential in business. These are the individuals who show up to work day after day, always meeting other people’s expectations for conduct and quality of work.
Once a person establishes consistency, the entire team comes to rely on them. Other colleagues get used to having them around and, eventually, they become an integral part of the firm, increasing their bargaining power.
Practice being more assertive
Individuals who want to increase their workplace influence also need to hone their assertiveness skills (not their aggression).
The most assertive people display a high degree of confidence, showing others that they stand by their convictions. They are also unafraid to discuss what they believe is the right strategy.
Critically, though, they are not arrogant. They don’t put forward ideas purely to make themselves look good: they commit themselves to the needs of the firm.
Aloof workers don’t tend to have the same level of influence over their colleagues as those who are more grounded and personal. That’s because the business world depends on familiar relationships. When employees love and trust a specific person in their team, it makes it much more likely that they will respect and support them, regardless of their abilities.
Work, don’t argue
There are influential people in practically every industry. And these individuals tend to have one thing in common: they get on with their work. They don’t argue. For instance, Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, attained her position because of her passion for achieving healthy and secure environments for her fellow colleagues.
This approach is successful because it lets colleagues speak through their actions. Nobody can accuse them of empty promises or lacklustre results. They just get on with the job and allow their output to stand as evidence of their abilities and talent.
Finally, the most influential people make a habit of listening carefully to others and finding out what they really want, whether psychological, emotional or economic. When an employee empathizes with their coworkers, they gain tremendous sway in meetings and social interactions. Those who are able to take into account everyone’s opinion and acknowledge and respect each individual, dramatically increase their value to others.