Some Advice for Increasing Your Influence at Work

By Harvard Business Review
April 16, 2018

Regardless of whether you have a formal title, you can be a leader in your immediate surroundings.

To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others, nor do you always have a formal position. So what’s the best way to position yourself as an informal leader? Here are some tips.

Build connections: One of the reasons that people do things for you is because they like you, so work on cultivating personal connections with your colleagues.

Listen before you try to persuade: The best way to prime colleagues for backing you and your agenda is to make them feel heard. Start by giving them your undivided attention and asking for their advice.

Mind your body language: Your body language is critical to conveying the right message. Standing up straight with your shoulders back helps you come across as confident and commanding; slouching and looking down at your feet has the opposite effect.

Develop expertise: Another way to increase your influence at work is to be seen as a recognized expert within your industry or organization. Take steps to develop business-critical expertise and show what you know. For example, you can blog about your subject on LinkedIn or for your company newsletter.

Give people what they want: You can increase your influence on a particular issue by authentically framing it as a benefit to the people you want on your side. Consider each stakeholder’s needs, perspectives and temperaments.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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