Growth minded? Upwardly mobile? Interested in being a leader – not a follower?

Then you need to master the art of influence. In today’s flatter, team-based and dynamic organizations, influence is power. It’s what makes people:

  • respect and appreciate you;
  • listen to your ideas;
  • follow you willingly.

Influence obviously offers countless advantages for your career growth, but you can’t acquire it by merely reading a book or taking a class. If you want it, you have to earn it. Where do you start? Use these strategies to become more influential at work – and fast-track your career:

Understand the personality styles of your team.

While no two people are identical, you can generally classify coworkers and superiors into four personality styles:

  • Drivers: results-oriented
  • Expressives: outgoing and creative
  • Amiables: easygoing and dependable
  • Analyticals: systematic and structured

To become more influential, you must adjust your own approach to the people with whom you work (not the other way around). Tailor your communication style when trying to drive others toward action or change.

Build trust.

Individuals (especially peers) are much more open to your influence when they have faith in you. Be honest. Share your opinions, and disclose your concerns when appropriate. Say what you mean, and you do what you say. Over time, your candor will engender trust – and that trust will ultimately increase your influence.

Be consistent.

Execute your responsibilities effectively and on time, every day. It’s really that simple! When people know that they can rely on your performance and behavior, they trust you and your ideas more – which makes it much easier to win them over.

Be assertive, not aggressive.

When you’re competing with others at work, the best way to get your ideas noticed (in a positive way) is by being vocal and visible. There’s a fine line, however, between being confident and pushy – so strike the right balance:

  • Speak up in meetings, but don’t interrupt.
  • Share your ideas confidently, without appearing arrogant.
  • Back up your positions with facts.
  • When you’re speaking to an unfamiliar audience or you’re outside your area of expertise, tread carefully.

Be flexible.

Sharing your ideas and opinions is central to exerting influence, but yours is not the only viewpoint that matters. So, while it’s important to be consistent and have conviction in your beliefs, it’s also equally important to consider others’ positions. Weigh the value of their approaches and perspectives. Be open to changing your opinion, when warranted.

Develop executive presence.

While you may not have a C- or D-level job title, being perceived as a leader (i.e., someone who can command a room and project gravitas) can be beneficial to your career growth. To gain the attention and respect of superiors, display confidence in these three components of executive presence:

  • Communication: use clear, decisive language and speak with energy.
  • Nonverbal cues: stand (or sit) tall, lean slightly in and make appropriate eye contact when speaking.
  • Appearance: dress appropriately (or a notch above) for your job every day, as unkempt or provocative attire can undermine your presence.

Related posts:

How to move beyond your career plateau

Career benefits to joining a board of directors

Ways to increase your marketability as a food & beverage professional

To move up faster, get to know your boss’s boss

Another way to fast-track your food & beverage career?

Register with Kinsa Group. As a leading national executive food & beverage recruiter, we have the connections and opportunities to take your career to the next level. Search professional food & beverage jobs here or submit your resume to Kinsa today.

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