On a professional level, when influence is properly asserted, you have the ability to help shape the course of something much bigger than an individual agenda – there’s the ability to have an impact on the lives of many. To be able to influential, your peers and leadership first have to trust you. They need to know your knowledge (or ability to gain it) is sound, your word is good, your promises are realistic and solid, you can handle adversity & setbacks, and that you have a reasonable level of belief within your peer group so that you can get things done. Consistently succeeding in these areas, over time, establishes your reliability within the company and with your co-workers. If you are trustworthy and reliable; then all that’s left to finish building a foundation that allows for influence is assertiveness. You have to understand power and know how to handle your peers in a leadership position. One of Raven’s and French’s five bases of power is reward. You have to implement rewards for those that are performing above and beyond.
Keep employees motivated by any means necessary. Rewarding employees will have them working towards goals with determination and drive. I would constantly be proactive instead of reactive. I would be taking a level measured risks to put out ideas, suggestions, and to give/receive requests for help when needed for the betterment of the organization… confidently, because it’s within the limits of ability of the individual, or belief that the combined ability of the team, is present to perform; while recognizing and respecting the viewpoints, suggestion, and feedback of others.
Furthermore I would be aggressive, make concise decisions and stand by them accepting full responsibility for my actions wrong or right. Taking a competitive, ‘all-out effort’ to “win” at any cost; thereby putting out ideas, suggestions, and demands for help for the advancement of one’s self or agenda. While often self-perceived as being forward, it’s often received as pushy and over-eager; without proper understanding of one’s place relative to the larger organization. Simply put, it’s too much, too fast, without proper buy-in of individual capabilities from the rest of the team.
I will make it my pet peeve to strive to understand before being understood. Ask myself questions like how can I influence this person and why the other person would be influenced by you? It is not always about how good you are at persuasion but first thinking about what your peers wants and how they would want to be influenced for a particular work or situation. I will lay the ground work through research on persuasion and how they will benefit from my solutions or proposals. Persuasion is not to be confused with manipulation. “Persuasion is about creating an environment that lets two or more people find common ground and beliefs. The fine line between persuasion and manipulations revolves around intent. Typically persuasion has a very positive connotation while manipulation does not” ( Lakhani, Dave 2005). Credibility matters in a highly competitive and forever changing work force. I have to be authentic and a subject matter expert before I can expect people to follow my lead and respect me. With that said, communication is important.
I would keep all information flowing through the work place as well as open up a direct line of communication with me. This will earn my coworkers trust and loyalty. Last but not least is commitment. Your peers want to see that you are committed to what you do day in and day out. Commitment is a deep and broad connection that people have with an organization that results in a willingness to go above and beyond what is expected of them to help the company succeed. The connection has to occur at three levels: the rational – how well people understand the needs of the organization and the expected roles and responsibilities; the emotional – how much passion and energy they bring to their work; and to what extend positive feelings emerge from the work experience; the motivational – how important, challenging, and meaningful people perceive their work is. These are attributes I would have to possess and tactics that I would have to employ in order to be successful gaining power and influence in my work place.