Leadership Academy reveals power of influence
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Posted by: Barbara Francella
than 400 Network of Executive Women members explored ways to advance their
careers during the fifth NEW Leadership Academy webinar "The 6 Sources of
Influence,” Aug. 1, 2013.
coach Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, led NEW members through
the one-hour learning session, which identified six sources of influence and
laid out why workplace influence is key to growing a career.
a common work scenario, Miller related a case of two colleagues offering the
same idea, but only one receiving validation and credit. In many cases, she
said, the person whose voice is not recognized hasn’t taken the measures to establish
herself as a person of influence.
second person to speak up might be the individual who gets to those meetings just
a couple of minutes early, takes a seat right at the table and greets others as
they arrive, playing the role of host and establishing a rapport," she noted.
"Someone once said, power and influence are just like cow manure. If you keep
it to yourself, it really stinks, but if you spread it around, you can do a lot
celebrity dog trainer Cesar Milan as a noteworthy example of a person with influence
with his emphasis on calm, assertive authority to transform canine behavior.
The same philosophy can be shared with boardroom dynamics, she said, as "our
behavior teaches others how to treat us."
first impressions are important, influence is the "cumulative impact of every
impression you make every day," she said.
Key sources of influence
Among the most important sources of influence, she said, is "positional
influence," which is inherent in job title and role. "You were hired to
fulfill an important role and people need to know about that,” Miller said. She
advises women to seize all opportunities to educate others about their roles
and how they can help.
yourself with a "thirty-second commercial," stating who you are, your position,
and how your work positively impacts the organization, can enhance and, if
needed, even save your reputation and position.
"Expertise influence" requires acknowledging your capabilities and
training, a valuable strategy at any stage of career. "Don’t wait for an
invitation to speak up regarding your areas of responsibility and expertise," Miller advised new and emerging leaders. At the middle levels, volunteering for
high-profile assignments will boost influence, while senior-level professionals
can continue to build their brand as thought leaders and speak on panels and at
"Resources influence" offers greater returns to an organization with resources
that allow you to do your job well. Women can increase resources influence by
sharpening negotiation skills to gain access to necessary resources and
understanding how finances and budgets work. Handled effectively, these skills
can raise a person's standing when decisions regarding resources are made.
"Next time they’re carving up the budget pie, they may give you an even
bigger slice because they know that you’ll use it well and make an even greater
impact," Miller said.
Having a finger on the pulse of what is going on in your organization, industry
and profession is the basis of "informational influence." As colleagues
being to see you as someone who is well informed, they’ll notice that you make
better business decisions more rapidly, she noted.
to exercising information influence is the ability to filter out useful
information from gossip or noise; trading harmful information can quickly
destroy a professional reputation.
influence" is shaped by stepping in, as a leader, to be firm, professional
and very direct when another’s behavior is detrimental to your team or
organization. Miller advises using direct influence with caution, as its overuse
fails to empower team members: "It’s okay to consider using your direct
influence in about 1 percent of cases where something truly is going wrong,"
she said. Women who use this skill appropriately and carefully, however, gain
trust and respect from others.
influence" is the natural outcome to taking time to build a network of
authentic relationships across the company, the industry and your profession. Miller
considers relationships influence the "grandmother of them all," the most
crucial form of influence for effective leadership and advancement. "As you
build those relationships, your ability to lead and influence will expand
almost effortlessly. Every other form of influence goes a lot more smoothly if
you already have a trusting relationship established with that other
individual," she said.
the NEW Leadership Academy's question-and-answer session, one participating member
asked how to gain a voice in a room where a colleague consistently interrupts
your thoughts with their own.
advised that such situations might require becoming comfortable with
interrupting on your own behalf, or speaking louder to hold your ground.
"Smile, keep moving forward, strengthen your voice and don’t show frustration," she said.
company cultures that don’t accept interruption as readily, you may want to
acquire the meeting agenda as a way to gain control of establishing your
viewpoint, she added.
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