What does conventional wisdom tell us about success in the workplace?
"Work hard and you'll be rewarded."
"It's about who you know - focus on building relationships."
"Manage up - your manager has the power to make or break your career."
I've heard all of these pieces of advice, sometimes all three from the same person; but what is the truth?
The truth is, organizations are run by people, so they're innately human. The company you work for has a pulse just like you do and that company's personality will dictate how you interact in the office to increase your power and influence.
When trying to make your mark, always remember to focus your actions on the people around you. The people in the company must choose you, so in order to get their attention, you'll need to be outwardly focused.
Here are 3 ways to increase your influence at work.
1) Find the Company Pulse
A good analogy for this is to imagine the business as a human body. There are lots of functions all happening at once and in perfect rhythm with each other. Your goal is to find a role within that body that fits who you are, and move with the rhythm so the function you perform is in sync with the others.
Tactically, this means observing the company and studying the needs of the business. Read about your business in the news, follow your company on social media, and talk to your managers about the company strategy. When you are in total awareness of the businesses needs, you can better serve the company and find yourself fitting right in and fulfilling an essential role.
2) Be Delightful
When was the last time you saw your bosses' favorite get overlooked for a promotion? Chances are, you've never seen this happen. This is because, we naturally prefer people we like. When we like someone we see them as smarter, more talented, and even more trustworthy than other people; so being likable at work is a major asset.
I'm not suggesting you become the office "suck-up" we all know there's enough of that going on. I mean finding yourself at the end of every positive comment and being a respected and appreciated colleague to everyone you encounter.
Tactically, this means shining your pearly whites when you see someone you know, looking people in the eyes, and pointing out commonalities with others, so they feel closer to you. You can also build likability by helping others freely, and being an amazing listener.
3) Become a Thought-Leader
A thought-leader is a person who is a trusted resource for a specific knowledge base. In practice, that means being really knowledgeable about something and sharing that knowledge with others at the right time.
How can you become a thought-leader?
Consider the top 3 things that you know the most about, then think about which one of those is the most important to the company you work for. That is your best option for thought-leadership.
Once you narrow down your expertise, you'll need to seek out opportunities to help people using what you know.
Let's say you're in marketing and your expertise is employer branding. By seeking out opportunities to consult your human resources department, you can brand yourself as an expert by being a helpful resource to them. Once you've helped them a few times and added great value, they'll talk about you to others and recommend you to other departments as a resource.
In one word, the key to being influential at work is VALUE. If you're able to find a strategically significant way to help move the company forward, be someone people enjoy being around, and a trusted resource throughout the company, you'll be extremely influential at work.
Get your free copy of "The 4 Keys to Influence" workbook to create your plan for being more influential in your career.