Most people would like to have more influence. But how do you get it? Let me suggest a series of steps. By the way, if you don’t have substance, ideas, content, or contributions to make, you won’t find influence. Influence is earned.
There are three steps before becoming an influence leader: Visibility, Credibility and Influence
VISIBILITY: You are most visible through your own high performance on the job. But it’s through your assisting others with their performance that you will get visibility and recognition. Over time, become available to others in a friendly, positive way. Demonstrate your availability and willingness to help them achieve their goals. They can be at various levels of the organization: Internal customers, bosses, peers or subordinates. Be there for them when they need it. This may take some time, but it’s essential. If you aren’t visible by helping others create results, you can’t move to the next level.
CREDIBILITY: Once you’re seen as a positive team player, you become a credible asset to those around you. People will come to you more often for alternatives to an issue. You need to be careful not to tell them what to do! That is not your job. Think of it as being a consultant to a friend. Your role is to provide different ways of looking at an issue and offering alternatives that may not have been previously identified. You are providing an objective service to others, giving them a different look at reality. Your credibility gets killed when you are seen as a “rumor-monger” or being the center of “office politics”. Never compromise your credibility. You can never regain it back.
INFLUENCE: These are the people who are sought out by others on a consistent basis. Your title or organizational power base has almost no connection to your influence base. Others are seeking your views because they trust you and have found you to have never used their information other than helping them. You have provided an understanding of their issues. People with influence function as a “coach” and present helpful data collection, analysis, alternatives or potential implications of decisions.
When executives look at their organization, they always gravitate to the influence leaders to engage with them. Influence leaders are asked for their opinions on issues of concern.
INFLUENCE LEADER – When others come to you for your opinion, you are the person most named by others for promotion or elevated assignments when asked. Why do others nominate you? It’s because you’ve been a credible supporter and an assist to them before. Who better to get recognized for promotion?