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Four ways to build your influence at work

By Janine Garner

The need to build your influence at work has never been stronger than it is today. We’re navigating a highly adaptive working life where change is always present. We’re bombarded with more information than we can cope with and we’re bogged down in processing data, so much so that we’re becoming desensitised or trying desperately to make sense of what’s relevant and true. And amid all this noise, change, uncertainly and complexity you must stand out, be noticed and be seen as relevant to build your career or your business: to lead a life of influence.

Staying invisible is the antithesis of building influence—in fact, it’s not brilliant at all.

Being able to add value to those around you—your clients, customers, team and suppliers —is critical to being in demand. Your confidence to share your opinions, thinking and ideas will help you lead your area of responsibility, company or industry.

Lewis Howes, a former professional football player and now the host of the podcast School of Greatness, said, “Each day you’re presented with a choice. You can either keep your greatness hidden under a pile of fears, regrets, and excuses, or you can let it out.” He advises that we need to make a conscious effort to live every single day as the best versions of ourselves, and I couldn’t agree more.

Here are four ways you can increase your influence at work right now:

Own your spotlight

Hope or hoping are not strategies for becoming more brilliant. You are the strategy. You are the key to change. Your influence starts with you choosing to own who you are and giving yourself permission to live and lead from this space.

Own your unique values and beliefs, your strengths and your weaknesses and acknowledge the incredible individual you are, imperfections and all. Because unless you can own your own spotlight how on earth can you shine the light on others? 

Steve Jobs echoed this thinking when he said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Share more

Speak up and contribute more. Become visible and let others see you.Share that idea you have. Take the lead at meetings. Offer to speak at client conferences or industry events to raise your personal profile. Write that blog or that article. Get involved in discussions, take part in forums and get more involved in a community around your area of expertise. Participate. Get noticed for being you and for what you think.

Connect with intent

Everyone needs to connect. It doesn’t matter what you do, what level you operate on, what industry you’re in, or whether you work for an organisation or are out on your own. We need to connect to feed our hearts and our minds. As Keith Ferrazzi concludes in Never Eat Alone, “Success in life = (the people you meet) + (what you create together)”. 

Building a network for influence is about:

  • connecting and collaborating with the right people
  • openly sharing knowledge and insights with individuals who understand, at a deeper level, our goals and aspirations
  • knowing that when we learn to move together, we start to move faster.

Find, develop and nurture the right connections to become more influential today and even more influential tomorrow.

Amplify others

Granted the metrics matter, but more importantly is how you magnify the people around you and how you share more of yourself to enable others to shine. As Richard S Wellins, senior vice president at management consulting firm DDI, says, “…your number one priority is to bring out the best in others.”

It’s about:

  • how we show up and experience the work
  • how it makes us feel about ourselves and how we make others feel about themselves
  • continuous teaching and mutual learning experiences
  • a preparedness to push others carefully into their spotlight, encouraging them to give it a go, believing in their potential and future success
  • leaving a longer-term impression: one that people remember, talk about and share

Every single one of us can exert our influence and leave an impact. At times it happens when we least expect it. Which is why it’s so important to show your unique brilliance at every moment.

Janine Garner is a global thought leader on powerful networking, collaboration and transformational leadership. Her new book Be Brilliant – how to lead a life of influence (Wiley) was published in June.

Gain the skills to become an influential leader

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