If you want to step up and grow your career, learning the art and science of influence is essential. Local Government Professionals Australia published an article I wrote that outlines three steps to increase your influence at work. To read the original article, click here.
In today’s increasingly complex environment it is becoming harder to make progress. People are asked to do more with less, while expectations are increasing from all quarters – the boss, community, stakeholders and colleagues. When you can’t influence it’s much harder to get traction and grow your career. Ultimately you find yourself out of the loop and uninvolved. The solution to this dilemma – being able to influence. The good news is that there are techniques that can be learned to master this craft.
Firstly, examine the mindset being applied to work and relationships. Letting assumptions drive thought processes, and ultimately behaviour can negatively impact your decision making and interactions with colleagues and stakeholders. Similarly, take the time to understand what intrinsically motivates those around you. Having insight into others better enables you to work with them, and encourage and inspire them to secure common goals. And lastly, know the system in which the organisation operates, and how the players inter-relate, make decisions, and secure outcomes. This includes understanding what drives change in the environment, as well as the organisation’s strategy, business model and challenges.
Play the long game
Seek to secure long-term, constructive relationships which are mutually beneficial. One-sided relationships – where it’s all about one person – are not sustainable. Seek to give, before you ever ask for something from the other person. It’s also important to be conscious about how you build your network. Identify relationship gaps and weaknesses, and put a plan in place to address. As well, be conscious of your actions and how they are seen by other people. Inconsistencies in what you say and do are easily seen by others. It’s hard to build relationships when you are seen as inauthentic and untrustworthy.
Craft your impact
Influential people have impact. They get things done, communicate effectively and know how to negotiate outcomes. So, be deliberate about how you use your time. Be decisive in how you make decisions. And be determined in the face of setbacks. Persistence pays off. Keep your communication simple, and remember: it’s not how much you talk, but what you say that matters. Ground your messages in reality and what people need to know. And lastly, treat decision making negotiations as an opportunity to build relationships. Be prepared, principled and focused.