Influence in the workplace represents power and can have a great effect on the dynamics of a team or the success of a manager. Gaining influence as an employee or as a manager is one of the most effective ways to get things done and to help your team work more efficiently and cooperatively. If you have influence, you can direct the workflow and organize things as you see fit. Creating influence takes time, and the following are 5 simple methods you can use to influence people in the workplace:
Build a bond of trust
Trust is hugely important – why would a fellow employee listen to you if they do not trust you? In order to increase your influence, you must first work on building a bond of trust with your team. When making decisions, give other responsibility and ensure there is an element of free will – other employees will then see that you trust them and are more likely to respond positively to your decisions.
Refrain from aggressive behavior
Aggressive behavior is one of the quickest ways to lessen your influence in the workplace. If you are frequently irrational, bad-tempered and confrontational then other employees will shy away from you. Aggression is one of the worse traits you can exhibit in the workplace and you should always try and remain calm, collected and amicable – you can be assertive, but never cross the line and turn this assertiveness into anger or force.
Always try and be flexible
If you rarely change your mind or give other employees no flexibility then you will open yourself to conflict and in-avertedly reduce your influence in the workplace. You must try and strike a balance between being assertive and still being flexible – don’t simply stick rigidly to your plan if it could be changed and made better. Maintain your beliefs and ethics, but if there is room for improvement then accept it – other employees will respect this.
Listen and take advice from others
One sure fire way to reduce your influence (and to annoy people in the process) is to never listen. If you simply charge through the workplace imposing your views on everyone else without listening you will eventually meet resistance. Always listen to what your fellow employees have to say and consider their input. If you show that their opinion is valued, they are more likely to reciprocate and listen to your influence in return.
Interact on a personal level
Finally, there must be a degree of personality in your interactions. If you are in a managerial position, the manager/employee relationship must be clear, however, this does not mean that you cannot talk to other employees on a personal level. Avoid being aloof and take time to get to know your fellow colleagues.
As you can see, influencing people in the workplace is actually easier than you may have first thought. If you use the above 5 methods then you should see an increase in respect, and also have greater clout when making decisions within your office.