If you’re actively trying to get to that next step in your career or enhance your skills in your current role, there’s one key thing you’ll want to work on: the influence you hold over those around you.
Influence is the ability to get others to act in alignment with your views or goals. Whether or not you’re already in a leadership role, the ability to influence others is an important skill to cultivate.
Trying to get that raise or promotion? You’ll need to convince your boss to agree that you deserve one. Want to see changes with your team? Be ready to persuade your coworkers to commit to the changes, too.
However, the ability to influence others isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. If you’re trying to improve your ability to influence others at work, you’ll first need to cultivate the following 10 skills.
The 10 Skills You Need to Build Influence
Influence isn’t something that you can simply develop through persuasive public speaking or presentations; it’s more complex than that. So, to get started building your influence in the workplace, whether you’re leading a team or influencing your superiors, here are 10 areas to focus on.
If you want to convince someone you know what you’re talking about, you need to appear confident. People are drawn to (and want to believe) confident people. However, true influence doesn’t involve coercion or manipulation, so your confidence needs to be grounded in genuine conviction.
Do you struggle with confidence? Start by identifying what you’re truly passionate about. Where do your convictions lie? If you can tap into your passion and display that passion to those around you, you’ll appear more confident, knowledgeable, and in control.
If you’re still struggling to determine or demonstrate your passion, you may want to consider career coaching. A career coach can empower you to identify your “why” and tap into the convictions you already have, so you can use them to build your confidence — and, thus, your influence — in the workplace.
Just as your confidence should be genuine, you also need to be sincere in general. Be genuinely kind to your coworkers. Remember that age-old saying we learned early on? If you can’t say anything truly nice, don’t say anything at all. Most of your colleagues are smart enough to sniff out a fake. Drop the performance and be real with your teammates.
The most influential leaders have built some sort of rapport with those they’re leading. How are you creating a strong rapport with those around you? Are you taking a genuine interest in what they say and contribute? Have you found a common bond with them?
While relationship-building with your colleagues can take time and effort, it will pay off. Just remember to keep things sincere.
4. First impressions
A good first impression is key to building influence. Whether you’re meeting a potential client for the first time or joining a new team, put your best foot forward and leave those around you with a positive impression. A bad first impression can leave a mark on a new relationship that may be difficult to remove later.
5. Positive emotions
If you manage to succeed in building rapport and creating positive first impressions with those around you, then you’ll find that you’ve helped them to experience positive emotions as well, which will make it easier to influence and lead them as you continue to build relationships with them.
Once you’ve managed to project positive energy in your interactions with others, you can begin to influence them with logic, the science of reasoning.
Explain your viewpoint logically to get others to agree with your side of things, whether that means rationally outlining why you deserve that raise or why management needs to make in-office changes. Just make sure you appeal to your listeners’ logic, not just your own.
Once you’ve established logic and are speaking from a place of sincerity, ask your listeners questions that elicit legitimate answers to help further solidify your stance. If you can get your listener to verbally agree with you, they’ll feel more inclined to join your side naturally, instead of feeling forced into it.
Of course, to appeal to logic and ask the right questions, you must listen attentively. If you listen carefully to others, you can find ways to build connections with them, create more opportunities to work alongside them, and increase your influence.
As you listen, build rapport, and create a positive first impression, make sure to always listen with curiosity. When you demonstrate curiosity, you show your listeners you truly care about their points of view. If you come from a place of sincerity with your influence, rather than manipulation, this curiosity will come naturally to you.
And, lastly, through all of this, make sure that those you’re attempting to influence feel important. They should walk away from your interactions feeling valued and appreciated, rather than demeaned.
The Bottom Line
The ability to influence others is an important skill for anyone looking to advance in their career or make a true impact as a leader. By focusing on these 10 aspects of building influence, you can effectively enhance your leadership skills for career success.
Need support taking your growth and influence to the next level? Arootah Executive Coaches work with leaders and teams to unlock peak performance across all levels. Get started today by booking a free results coaching session.