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10 Ways to Positively Influence Others In The Workplace

10 Ways to Positively Influence Others In The Workplace

No matter how brilliant or hard-working we are, we cannot succeed without the help and cooperation from others. Men are not islands scattered in a sea of separation, we are all connected in some way. In the 21st Century the world has shrunk significantly as we keep pace with the most remote parts of the world and we learn from other cultures with a click of a button. We have discovered we are not so different after all, language might be a barrier but we all have the same basic needs, the same can be said about the strangers we meet on the street or people we work with.

Regardless of where you work or your occupation, we all have something in common; we spend a large part of our lives in a job that some of us like and some of us don’t.

If you find yourself in a job you don’t like, by getting people on your side will make the journey more bearable, and you will even begin to enjoy going to work.

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Here are my 10 Ways to Positively Influence Others in the Workplace:

Develop a Grateful Attitude

I have a ritual every morning before I go out the door; I look around my home and quietly say “thank you” for having a roof over my head, for the food we eat and having a family to love. By appreciating what I already have my purpose becomes clearer, to bring the bacon (or tofu if you are vegetarian) and feed the ones I love. During the day as the challenges arise, I think of my daily ritual and makes me happy, happiness is contagious.

Happiness is contagious

There are a million+1 reasons to be sad or angry in the world, however, there are ten billion+1 reasons to be happy, we were not put on this earth plane to be miserable, find a reason to rejoice, look at the window and see the blue sky, if it is raining be happy that more trees and vegetables will grow. Talk to the people who nurture you and smile at the ones who don’t. If you are alive and healthy you are doing well….

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Smile even when you are down

Have you ever heard the expression “Fake it until you make it”? The same principle applies when things go wrong, smile and it will put you in a better mood. Even when the boss is harassing you, co-workers not going along with the program, the computer crashed wiping all your hard work, simply smile. By smiling we release endorphins (happy hormones) and smiling has a tendency to ease bodily tension, so flash those pearly whites, people around you will pick up on it and they will smile in return.

Always say Please and Thank You

Good manners are a passport to better relationships, and this is not just relegated to the workplace; even when you go out to restaurants, the movies, etc. people will go out of their way to assist you and make your experience more enjoyable when they are treated with courtesy and respect. Having good manners shows the world we care about others, you don’t have to go to Harvard to learn good manners; they can easily become a habit when we learn to treat others the way we want to be treated.

Stay away from gossip

Sometimes things happen in the work place that gives some people a reason to speak about others behind their back. Discussing events is inevitable however, these events are often distorted for entertainment purposes and objectivity is lost. Gossip de-moralizes the target person and if it is malicious can become bullying. What I suggest is simple, smile at the people involved in gossip and walk away avoiding engagement, do not be drawn by the negative energy, it will keep you centered and will not distort your opinion of the victim, they deserve our respect regardless.

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Be kind to the Village Idiot

No matter how many different places I have worked at there is always a “Village Idiot”. These people might be eccentric, not articulate, weird or just different. When engaged in conversation by the V.I. be kind and listen to what he or she is saying, you will be surprised there is an unconventional wisdom to them, and by bothering to listen to them you will develop a good will. You never know when you might need their help.

Be diplomatic

People will say or do things that irritate us, and the key is to remain calm and objective. Having a short fuse or simply choosing anger as a first reaction will give these people more fuel to annoy you again and again; and you will lose credibility in front of your peers. There have been many times people have said hurtful or offensive things to me and by me not giving them an answer to respond to their poor rhetoric I have managed to stay in control of the situation and they have left me alone as they know I will not justify to their poor attitudes and I do it with a smile or with humor often turning the tables. If you must respond when confronted or teased do it in a soft and calm voice and be kind, no point on putting out a fire with gasoline.

Always do your best

Bosses and influential co-workers will respect you for doing the best you can when doing your job. I have seen many people who have been at odds in the past come together to celebrate when a milestone has been achieved due a great effort. People might not like you for whatever reason, but they will respect you for being dependable and a great worker. Being dedicated and focused is a quality that is cherished in the corporate world. By always doing your best gives you a positive sense of self and purpose; chances are it will bring in a pay rise or build a solid foundation for a future role.

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Be honest

Honesty is the best policy, however, when honestly and diplomacy are combined they become traits of a great leader/communicator. When communicating concepts and ideas be factual, do not try to sound overly smart or use too much technical jargon. Do not embellish or exaggerate as people can see through the lies and will retain that in their minds forming opinions based on how the massage is conveyed not the message itself.

Be respectful of other cultures

If you live in a Western country chances are there are many people of different cultures and ethnicities. By getting to know other people’s traditions, foods and beliefs we develop a respect and appreciation for who they are. Every culture has something positive we can learn from and it is our moral duty to embrace then and respect them. Do not join racist conversations in the staff room or around the water cooler, you are inviting the same treatment from others and it does not help you to positively influence others, even the very people you are agreeing with will lose some respect for you. There are good people and bad people in every nationality, focus on what is good and decent in everyone; it will become a beacon attracting cooperation across the board.

We are going to spend eight hours a day, five days a week, 48 to 50 weeks a year with our colleagues, might as well make it enjoyable and fruitful.

More by this author

Louis Salguero

UX, HCD, UCD, GUI, graphic and web designer

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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