I once asked attendees in a workshop I was leading to describe someone who they felt was influential.
Here are some of the quotes:
Think about someone you know either personally or professionally who you deem as influential, how would you describe them?
As an executive coach, the skill of being “influential” is something that is my clients often desire to hone in themselves. After all, if you can’t influence others with your ideas, how can you lead?
But how do you build the skill of influence, especially when sometimes, you feel like an imposter inside?
There are 3 components to building influence; trust, creditability and personal relationships.
Have you ever listened to or followed the advice of someone you did not trust? Of course not. Why would you? Trust is the cornerstone of influence.
But how do you build trust? I believe that trust comes through time and consistent interactions. Some ways to build trust within your team or organization is to ask yourselves the below questions:
Credibility is about reliability. When you are experiencing “imposter syndrome” (no, you are not alone, most if not all leaders I know have experienced this), it can be hard to feel credible. You may be asking yourself questions like, “What do I know about this topic?”, “Surely there must be others who know way more about this than I do.”
But credibility does not mean you are the ultimate expert. It means that you consistently and reliably show up prepared and with a point of view. It means you have an opinion that is well thought through and that moves the conversation forward for others.
Next time you are in a group meeting at work, think about what questions or opinions you can share that you believe will help your coworkers to see things in a new way.
Let’s face it, we listen to people we like. If I don’t like or respect you, I’m most likely not going to be influenced by you or your opinion.
I’m not saying that you should be in the business of making everyone like you. Far from it. What I am saying is that it is important to build a level of rapport with those you work with.
This could look like making sure you do “drive bys” with your peers for a quick hello. Grabbing lunch with a leader you respect in another department. Getting to know those on your team a little better.
Know that building influence takes time and dedication. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without putting your attention to it. But by building trust, credibility and personal relationships with others, you will be on your way to influencing others with your great ideas!
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