You have influence but the question is: how are you using it to positively impact the trajectory of your career? While skimming a Harvard Business Review article by Rebecca Knight, she mentioned an unspoken truth: “To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others.” Although your level of influence relies heavily on your approach, proven results and reputation, the article goes on to suggest the following:
• Listen before you persuade
• Map a strategy
• Get people what they want
In addition to the aforementioned suggestions in Rebecca’s article, if you haven’t assessed “how you show up”, there’s no better time than the present. Whether it’s a personal assessment or soliciting feedback from others, you need insight regarding how you affect someone or something which directly correlates to how influential you are…or are not as a woman in today’s workforce.
Consider these tips when expanding your influence:
1. Harness your projection of power. Pause when you speak, maintain good posture and don’t over explain yourself. Speak succinctly.
2. Get better at connecting with others and relationship-building. Career advancement depends on relationships, collaborating and seeking strategic advice. What value do you create as an influential expert in the workplace that helps others achieve their goals? Think win-win because the focus can’t consistently be about you.
3. Change your language. Communicate confidence in your decision-making ability by using “I will” instead of “I think I will.”
4. Own the space. Whether it’s a boardroom or a cubicle, say to yourself: “This is my room. This is my table. This is my audience.”
5. Executive presence: Gauge the impressions you make and how you affect the people around you. Project an action-oriented aura; instead of saying “I was wondering” consider “My plan is_____.” Your strategy should include an understanding of who you influence as well as who you’ve yet to influence. Remember, influence can and should include leverage. Is there someone you need to partner with as it relates to a colleague you have yet to influence?
6. Think bigger and aim higher. Raise your hand; take on tasks or projects that are completely outside your comfort zone.
7. Create brand bites. These are themes that describe you such as “I love to try new things” or said differently, “I take calculated risks.”
If you’re still not convinced influence is an asset, digest Dorie Clark’s perspective in closing: “You get more done and you advance the projects you care about and are responsible for which means you’re more likely to be noticed, get promoted and receive raises.”
Ericka Spradley is the Chief PowHer Officer of Confident Career Woman which is the premier consulting firm for corporations and the mid-career professional woman who wants to advance, better manage her career, and go further faster. Ericka is an advocate who partners with clients to help women ditch perfection, play bigger and make PowHer Moves by: identifying their next role, creating a career strategy, offering ongoing career guidance, and coaching clients to master interviews. For additional information, visit: ErickaSpradley.com