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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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