Improve your influence with these 5 easy tips21 Feb 2022
No matter what your role is, you can have influence in the workplace. That’s not just a motivational catchphrase — it’s the truth. You don’t have to be at the top of the ladder to convince your coworkers to listen when you speak.
Here’s what employees of every organisation need to know about building influence, winning trust and establishing strong relationships.
What is influence in the workplace?
According to Chron, “Influence is the ability of an individual to transform and shape the opinions of others.” That sounds like a big responsibility — but in truth, influence in the workplace is all about building strong connections. You have to understand the people you’re working with — not just as faces at desks or in the corners of your video conference, but as individuals — and use that understanding to craft ideas capable of winning over your coworkers.
Here are two ways of looking at influence on the job:
- As a leader: Whether you’re a manager, an HR decision-maker or just another member of the team, you have the capacity to be a leader. When you have the skills necessary to develop trust and build strong relationships, you can state your opinions and structure your points in ways that make others want to follow your lead.
- As a coworker: Even when you don’t need to be a leader in the workplace, influence has a significant role to play. To facilitate smooth negotiations between stakeholders, get the information you need and create win-win situations, it’s often necessary to influence others — for example, when moving a due date or clarifying expectations on a project.
Notice that, no matter how or why you need to convince your colleagues of something or what your relationship with them may be, this is only possible when you’ve built a solid foundation.
How do you build that foundation? Let’s take a look.
How to build influence
Before you can begin influencing others at work, you need to develop lasting relationships and build trust. Here are five vital tips to make it happen:
- #1: Inspire loyalty
According to Forbes, “Inspiring a sense of commitment from your team is vital.” That’s because people are more willing to listen to those they trust. No matter your role, you can focus on developing loyalty between members of your team by celebrating their successes and helping them navigate struggles.
- #2: Practise active listening
Hearing is involuntary; listening is voluntary. To build relationships and create influence in the workplace, practise listening actively during all forms of communication. That means paying attention to the speaker in a virtual conference, fully reading a coworker’s email or avoiding the urge to interrupt with your own ideas when others are speaking. This builds trust, which, in turn, builds influence.
- #3: Treat others with respect
Having influence in the workplace doesn’t mean you’ll always get your way. Instead, focus on emphasizing other voices and making sure everyone is heard. When you respect your colleagues, they’ll be more likely to return the favour.
- #4: Pay attention to your language
When influencing others at work, remember that your choice of language plays a big part in how others perceive your request, idea or opinion. For example, according to Inc., you can simply rephrase a request to gain more influence depending on whom you’re speaking to — if someone looks up to you, tell them what to do, but ask for help if the other person believes you look up to them.
- #5: Invest in workplace training
The last and perhaps most important way to build influence is to invest in professional training. With workshops on negotiating, building trust, developing relationships, communicating your opinions and getting what you want in the workplace, ICML is a great place to start.
Become more influential today
Regardless of your role, you have the potential to influence others at work. All you have to do is create a solid foundation and understand the skills necessary to do so — and there’s a simple way to do that. Our Influencing and Negotiating Skills program helps employees of all levels become more confident making connections with colleagues, offering tools and strategies to enable smooth, effective communication.
Contact us today to start becoming more influential in your workplace.