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Published on December 11, 2018

How to Be Influential and Gain Respect at Work

How to Be Influential and Gain Respect at Work

We all want to be respected at work. Respected for what we accomplish. Respected for our input and ideas. It’s a great feeling to know that we are contributing in a meaningful way that gains the respect of others.

It’s also important to be able to be influential at work as well from time to time. When we have the ability to influence others at work, it can help us accomplish personal career goals as well as business goals. This will then lead to being respected as well. In this article we will look at how to be influential and gain respect at work.

In this article, we will look into how to be influential and gain respect at work.

The Perks of Being Influential at Work

One of the primary traits of top leaders in the workplace is the ability to influence others. Influencing others may have you thinking of a pushy salesman. Someone who is trying to influence you into buying something. The reality is being able to influence others, especially at work, is hugely beneficial for a number of reasons.

When you can be influential at work, it helps you achieve key objectives. If you have to get others on board to move a project forward, you need to be able to influence.

When you influence, you are able to convey key points to the people you work with. You can explain to them how something will benefit the company — might be something that is good for the company, your customers, or the employees. In any case, your ability to show those benefits to others you work with, will help you be influential to achieve your objectives and goals.

Besides influencing others to help the company, it’s also good for your personal growth, development, and success. You will be able to influence your way to getting the tools and resources you need to be successful.

Remember, you are in charge of your career. No one will do it for you.

Why Being Respected at Work Is Important

The benefits of being respected at work are wide ranging. When you are respected, others give your opinion heavier gravity. Plainly stated, when you speak, others listen and pay attention. This works hand in hand with being influential.

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If you think about it, when you are respected, it automatically generates the ability to influence others with your opinion.

Of course respect isn’t just given anywhere. Not at work, not in any relationships with others. Respect is something that must be earned. It’s earned by doing what you say you are going to do.

How To Be Influential At Work

Consistently achieving good results will earn you ongoing respect. Standing up for what’s right will always earn others respect as well. Leading others through difficult times and projects will gain you respect.

Let’s look at how to be influential at work and gain others respect.

1. Build Your Connections

Even though we aren’t in high school anymore, it’s always a good idea to build connections. When you work at building connections with others, they remember you for it.

People are much more willing to be influenced by you if they like you. Conversely, if people don’t like you very much, they won’t necessarily want to go along with the things you are wanting them to.

Make friends and build connections.

2. Make Sure You Listen

I’ve mentioned this in other articles on communication. Half of communicating is listening. In this case, listening to others and let them know you care what they say.

You are listening to what’s important to them and they will remember that. And if you can incorporate what is important to others into your plans of action, that will be hugely beneficial to you and your strategy. It helps you gain more and more support if it benefits more people.

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3. Paint a Great Picture

When you can paint a clear picture of what you are wanting, it helps others to see it. This is especially true if you are working towards a large end goal.

When you can show others in a clear positive light what the end game looks like, it will be very beneficial in helping you get what you are wanting. Others will be able to see how this project, goal or vision will be; and how it will benefit the company or customers or employees.

Being able to share the concept so others can see it clearly is incredibly beneficial.

4. Connect Emotionally

There is nothing wrong with having facts and figures to help make your point. Something to keep in mind is that while many people like to see graphs and numbers to help make a decision, connecting with people emotionally will help you be more influential.

Most people like to feel a bond with others. It’s what makes us feel like we want to help others out. This isn’t to say you have to be best buddies with everyone in the office. What it is referring to is that, the ability to connect on an emotional level with others will help you gain their support in your quests at the office.

5. Build Your Credibility

Think about the last time you chose to listen to a speaker. Maybe it was a motivational speaker or you signed up for a “how to make money flipping houses” type seminar. Probably one of the main reasons why you chose to invest your time attending the speech or seminar, was because you believed the speaker to be very knowledgeable in whatever area they were talking about.

The same concept holds true in the workplace. Your fellow coworkers are much more likely to be influenced by you if you are seen as an expert in your area. With that in mind, make sure you are constantly working to improve your knowledge and get better and better.

By showing others that you are an expert in a certain area, you will be building your credibility which will help you influence when needed.

6. Know Office Politics

Office politics

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are nearly everywhere. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. The key thing to know is how things really work in your office or company.

Sometimes, the person whose title puts them at the top of the food chain isn’t really in charge. Many times, it’s of higher value from an influencing standpoint if you know all the executive assistants well.

Or something I have found is that the IT folks are great to know. They typically have the inside scoop on what’s going on with different folks because of some of the access to information they have.

Knowing who is headed up and who is headed out can be great knowledge to help you when it’s time to be influential.

7. Work Hard and Be Consistent

Being a consistent hard worker and performer will gain you respect which in turn will help you be influential at work.

I want to make something clear:

When I say work hard, I don’t want you to assume working 12 hour days everyday. You can spend a lot of time working on low level tasks that nobody really cares about. If there is an automated or easier way to do less impactful tasks, then by all means do that. That’s called working smarter.

What I am referring to is putting in consistent, quality effort and work. When I was in retail, I worked for a manager that rarely was in his office and was always helping out where needed. I also worked for a manager who never left his office and rarely interacted with the employees. Guess who I respected more?

8. Help Others Succeed

Helping others succeed is a surefire way to gain respect and will help you be influential at work. When you take the time to help others succeed, it sure makes a huge difference to that person.

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When I moved into the corporate world a little over 10 years ago, I had a lot to learn. There are 2 people in particular who were always there for me. They answered my questions, pointed me in the right direction, and helped out when needed. One of them turned out to be the best mentor I ever had. The other is someone that I still stay in contact with and earned my respect long ago. When that person needs my help with something, you can bet I am there.

Both of those people earned my respect because they were there for me and my success was important to them. When they were in their influencing mode, you know I was in their corner, doing what I could to help them get what they needed.

Conclusion

We’ve taken a look at how to be influential and gain respect at work. The ability to be influential and to have respect at work go hand in hand. You have to have gained some measure of respect at work to be influential. And the ability to be influential at work will help you gain respect as well. The reason being is in both cases you are viewed as someone who can get things done.

Being influential and gaining respect at work helps you in many ways. It will help you in your own personal development and career path. It will also help you to achieve success on big projects or in other company goals.

If you’d like to increase your ability to be influential at work, take a look at what we’ve covered here and see if you can put some of them into action.

Your company and yourself will thank you.

More Resources About Boosting Your Influencing Skills

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mat Apodaca

Living a Complete Life Guru. Writing about the importance of having a well rounded life and how communication in the workplace and personal relationships plays a large role in your happinness

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home How to Deal with Anger and Better Control Your Emotions How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward The Art of Building Relationships You Need to Succeed in Your Career How to Be Influential and Gain Respect at Work

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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