Building influence – it’s never been harder, yet never more critical.
Leaders (and future leaders) know that real success can only be achieved with others – but we are all more distracted, uncertain, skeptical and divided.
BUT WAIT! This article isn’t about sharing doom and gloom…
Everyday we all have the opportunity to build influence – to make a mark on the world – through what we say and do. And, it’s up to each of us to determine how we want to use our thoughts, behaviors and actions to positively affect others.
Even just your presence or [lack thereof] can make an impact.
And now, more than ever, we all have the opportunity to make a mark – to understand what it takes to build genuine trust and influence with(out) authority to bring people together with ideas that can improve technology, broaden access to resources and ultimately, change the world.
So what’s the secret to building influence and establishing trust?
Let’s unlock that by unpacking what influence and trust really are, why both will be the currency of leadership in 2023 and what you can do today – right now – to build your influence with(out) authority.
In this article, take away:
- The essential importance of trust in 2023
- What is “influence”
- Why building workplace influence is so important
- How to build your influence with(out) authority
The Importance of Trust in 2023
Influence and trust are the currency of leadership in 2023.
As Nobel Prize winning economist Kenneth Arrow wrote, “virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust,” and beyond economics, trust is a fundamental requirement for healthy, meaningful personal relationships.
“There’s a failing trust ecosystem.”
Widespread mistrust, global disasters – including COVID19 – heightened suspicion of media and social media and increased social scrutiny of leaders has resulted in “a failing trust ecosystem,” “a crisis of leadership,” and a “raging infodemic,” – as Shaggy from Scooby Doo says: Zoinks!
Infodemics – the rapid spread of excessive information – both accurate and inaccurate information – is alarming because they cloud the issue at hand, contain rumours and fear, and make it more difficult for society to solve real problems. See what’s fuelling this social trust deficit. Check out the Edelman Trust Barometer.
And here’s the thing:
Your title – whether it’s President and CEO or mailroom intern – doesn’t matter. Well, okay it matters a bit – I wouldn’t recommend if you are an intern that you start asking the CEO to bring you coffee – BUT as Harvard Business Review reminds us, “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 exactly is “influence” and how do you build it?
Let’s dive in.
What is Influence?
Influence is a type of power.
Real influence isn’t about your title – it’s about who you are being ,the traits you possess and the interpersonal skills you employ.
Influence creates a deeper internal commitment and mindset shift towards teamwork. And, to be clear, influence isn’t about obtaining complete agreement from others – the goal is cooperation and consensus – in the interest of moving things forward.
In fact, often short term actions don’t require influence – they can be achieved through external motivators or direct requests. Influence is about building trust and a relationship for lasting long-term gains.
Why Building Influence in the Workplace is so Important
Other than the fact that the world seems to have broken its trust for leaders, experts, media, technology and more, when you do build real influence, it can yield major results.
Why build influence in the workplace
There are a number of immediate and long-term benefits to mindfully building your influence in the workplace, including:
- Developing stronger relationships with your coworkers, leaders and customers
- Pitching your ideas with confidence and quickly gaining buy-in
- Expanding your personal leadership influence and deepening impact
- Strengthening team dynamics and teamwork
- Achieving a significant outcome for a worthy cause
- Successfully mentoring others to make their mark
- Obtaining a promotion and/or raise
- Achieving personal goals and enhancing personal relationships
So How Do You Build Influence in 2023?
We’re still living in unprecedented times.
The first thing is to realise that traditional trust and authority – that which is rooted in long standing beliefs and values – has eroded.
While this may be uncomfortable to acknowledge – it’s important to understand that now is the perfect time to explore new approaches to building influence with(out) authority.
The good news is, whether you know it or not, you already possess a degree of influence and have specific traits and skills to effectively build influence and accomplish massive goals.
And as you might imagine, there is not one recipe for success when it comes to building influence – it’s the mindful application of a different mix of skills and traits that will determine your potential to influence others – and it’s important to remember that every situation and person is unique – which means we have to stay flexible so we can use different approaches or styles of influence for ever-changing situations.
Here are some useful places to begin to build your influence:
- Know your go-to influencing style (reflect on your strengths and opportunities for growth) – DM me if you’re interested in taking the Influence DNA styles assessment
- Learn new styles to maximize your full potential to influence others
- Remember that text communications have a higher chance of leading to misunderstandings – be present (video, call or in person) whenever possible, and use emoticons sparingly to communicate tone. 🙂
- Check your body-language and tone – even through the screen by watching yourself on recordings, or having a trusted confidant “audit” your non-verbal communication style to see how you’re coming across.
- Listen first and be available – don’t be distracted. Put your phone down and really be present.
Like any skill, building influence takes practice, time and a real investment in relationships.
The first step to increasing your skills is self-knowledge – and you’re well on your way if you made it this far in the article.
Start Building Your Influence Today
Read: What’s the best way to influence others? by Adam Grant – Read article
Watch: What makes us influential? Jon Levy, behavioral scientist known for his work in influence – Watch video
Do: Listen first – without distraction – with authentic presence.
Contact: Get in touch below and ask to take our exclusive influence styles assessment.