Years ago I took a team position inside of major manufacturing company with no direct reports, but one that required specific outcomes. To achieve any positive outcome in my new role, influence was a must.
Over the last five years, I have discovered that to succeed in building levers of influence, you must do four things: be consistent, knowledgeable, honest, and a problem solver.
Darren Hardy has said, “Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.” When you are a model of consistency, you demonstrate you are reliable. People count on you to do what you say you will do. When people ask you to do something, they know you will do it as agreed. Over time, they will give you greater and greater responsibility, which allows you to have greater influence. Remember that being reliable doesn’t mean being “not creative.”
One of the best ways to gain traction for influence is to demonstrate you have knowledge regarding a subject. It not only requires information from a book, but also practical knowledge. This allows you to be believable. This is especially helpful if you are an expert in an area that those you are influencing are not. In this way you bring a unique skill and trait. Billionaire entrepreneur, Shark Tank mogul, and NBA owner Mark Cuban strongly believes in gaining an information advantage, saying: “To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the net making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business.”
When you are honest, it is easy to build trust and influence. People know that your word matters — when you commit to something, you will do it. When you provide data, it is good data. Your honesty will allow people to trust your motives. John C. Maxwell rightly said, “You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.” When you desire to build influence, there is no greater tool than honesty as it goes hand in hand with integrity.
It is easy to find problems. It is easy to point out mistakes. What’s not easy is discovering solutions, identifying opportunities for improvement, and driving those through conclusion. It’s easy to blame others while skirting your own responsibilities within a process. When you are able to take yourself and your pride out of the situation, you allow the causes of a problem to be identified and allow solutions to come out. In situations you have faced in the past, where did you find yourself operating – -within the problem-finding space, or the problem-solving space? Once people find out you are a partner in resolving problems, you will become more involved across your organization increasing your influence.
While it’s easy to look out across the horizon and express a desire to be an influencer, true influence takes more than notoriety. tweet this
It requires work behind the scenes that is consistent, knowledgeable, honest, and driven to resolve problems. You will see the greatest results while embracing all of these levers — but even beginning one, you will see your influence grow over time.
David Sparks has a mission is to help ordinary people do extraordinary things. Therefore he writes and speaks about encouragement, simple ways to serve others, choosing to act, positive resources, and inspiring stories. He has an MBA in Organizational Development and Leadership from Oklahoma Christian University, and works for a major manufacturing company. He’d love to connect with you in the comments below, on his blog, or via Twitter.
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