Most people want to be listened to whenever they have something to share. That’s not too much to ask. These are things that any decent workplace should guarantee. But to be a real mover and shaker at work you need to develop your influence. Here are ways to step away from the crowd and grow clout.
Get out of your box: Be resourceful in ways you never had to before. Improvise, adapt and overcome barriers. Don’t let structural divisions or compartmentalisation in your workplace be an excuse for remaining in your corner. A seat at the table calls for someone who is self-motivated, makes way where there is seemingly no way, can see around corners and ahead; can roll up their sleeves and be able to roll with the punches. Show perspective and ability to see things from other’s viewpoint. Expand your knowledge so that you can ‘speak into’ conversations rather than ‘hijacking’ them by pulling them down to topics you are comfortable with.
Be discerning: Don’t believe the workplace is divided into two groups of people; deciders and ‘doers’ on the other and that you are just a doer. If you think this way you’ll constantly feel disempowered. Some people’s jobs make them decision makers but you can be creative about influencing decisions. Reach out, offer an opinion or even instigate discussions and deliberations that give you voice. Don’t make people guess what you’re thinking or go shooting from the hip. If you can make this mindset you’ll be able to engage more at increasingly higher levels. Don’t think in ‘this or that polarising’ terms. Seek new people who are relevant so that you have access to new thoughts and ideas.
Show your mettle: Go above and beyond. Be visible, useful and interested. Don’t go for easy work or duck out of challenging assignments at the first opportunity. Don’t sit back and expect someone to identify your capability or build it. Get out and show what you can do. Understand the strategic challenges of your organisation and ask for opportunities you feel prepared for that will help you participate in what will take the organisation where it needs to go. Show by the way you work that you deserve to be taken seriously. Be flexible within the corporate structure and be open to responsibility. Most people are happy to lay back and unwilling to do anything different so your being proactive will take you much further along.
Now take action: What one thing will you do to increase your influence at work?