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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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