To be truly effective in the modern workplace today, it is necessary to both command influence and make a meaningful impact. Most people believe that there isn’t much of a distinction between the two, though. This could be because both these concepts have a similar feel to them, as both influence and impact have to do with having an effect on others.
Put simply, influence refers to one’s ability to persuade others without exerting force or issuing an explicit command. Meanwhile, to impact someone is to make a deep impression, that is, one so significant that it can affect their mindset or trajectory.
Perhaps it is more accurate to say instead, that influence and impact are similar concepts, but one follows after the other. Wielding the right kind of influence in the workplace can lead to making an impact on those around you, whether you happen to be in a leadership position or not. To clarify the differences further, read on below for three ways to increase your influence at work, and three ways to make an impact:
How to Increase Your Influence
Create Meaningful Connections>
Unless you are already in a leadership or managerial position, you may find it hard to persuade others to listen to what you have to say or convince them to do something without first establishing relationships with them. Like it or not, the likelihood of anyone hearing you out hinges on whether they like you or not.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be the friendliest or the most convivial person in the room at all times, though. Simply making an effort to sincerely get to know your colleagues and create a cordial atmosphere at work can take you very far. Doing so can make them trust you more.
Brush Up on Your Listening Skills
Another way to position yourself as a more trustworthy person in the workplace is to learn how to listen. In addition to giving someone your undivided attention when having a one-on-one conversation with them, you’ll also want to curb your impulse of persuading the other person before hearing them out first. When people feel heard, they feel respected. Thus, they become more likely to treat you the same way.
Become an Expert
By this point, you may have already noticed a pattern that building influence in the workplace is all about fostering trust. You can make more people have confidence in your capabilities if you demonstrate organisation-critical expertise and know-how. To do this, simply choose a topic that you feel you can really sink your teeth into. Then, immerse yourself in it by attending conferences, enrolling in continuing education, or joining a professional organisation relevant to the subject. Others will begin to look to you for guidance in that field once you’ve established your mastery of it.
How to Make an Impact
No one ever made an impression by fading into the background. When it comes to making an impact at work, you’ll want to be seen—for the right reasons. This means sharing your ideas and making meaningful suggestions, but also speaking out against abuse and injustice. You should never be afraid to forge your own path to success.
Go Above and Beyond
Leaving a lasting impact is all about making your mark in a way that will have someone sitting up and taking notice. Being a self-starter, having initiative, and lending a hand to others in their time of need demonstrates that you are a valuable, proactive, and supportive member of the team. Of course, it’s important to set limits to make sure that your assistance isn’t taken advantage of. However, you should soon find that going beyond what’s expected of you can often be quite advantageous.
Show Others Your Appreciation
Criticism can indeed follow someone for a long time, but unless it’s delivered properly, it rarely has a positive impact. On the other hand, getting into the habit of complimenting others and showing them your gratitude can stay with them for a lifetime. Whenever possible, use positive reinforcement when communicating your expectations, and get into the habit of complimenting others for a job well done when it’s warranted. You might not just be making their day, as that simple compliment could change their entire life.
The differences between influence and impact are subtle, but ultimately, you need both to arrive at the same goal. If you want to create meaningful change, you first need to get people to trust and believe in you. After that, you can go about making an impact by employing the trust that you’ve been given to bring about the transformations that you want to see. With both influence and impact on your side, the people around you will eventually begin to see you as a leader, even if that is not your official role yet.
If you want to know more about influence and impact, then get in touch with Justine Maree Cox today.